The University and the Yale Police Benevolent Association — Yale’s police union — have reached a tentative agreement on a seven-year contract, the University announced in an Oct. 18 press release.
This tentative accord was achieved after a 28-month contract dispute between the two parties, comprised of over 70 negotiation sessions. The new agreement includes features designed to improve the daily working relationship between the union and the police department through changes including opportunities for police union input over new policies and a committee on health insurance benefits, according to a press release. The new agreement also addresses overall income and job security. It provides additional opportunities for overtime, which can traditionally be more constrained in university environments when compared to the public sector.
At the end of this contract, Yale’s police officers will be among the highest paid officers in the state, according to the statement. The members of the police union are scheduled to vote on the proposal by the end of the month.
“This contract, I would say, is probably one of the best contracts at least in New England, if not the country,” YPBA Attorney Andrew Matthews told the News.
The YPBA held several rallies during the discussions, where they sought to bring attention to the state of the negotiations. In September, the YPBA marched to University President Peter Salovey’s office to deliver a letter asking for his support during negotiations.
Matthews said that over the past two years, the YPBA and the University have worked to resolve their differences. Most importantly, he said, the YPBA believes the agreement recognizes the “risks” and “sacrifices” University police officers make while protecting the Yale community.
Vice President for Human Resources and Administration Janet Lindner called the tentative settlement an “excellent agreement for Yale and its police officers.” She said that both the negotiators for the university and the YPBA worked “extremely hard” over the course of the meetings to resolve all the issues and make the necessary compromises.
The new agreement was achieved without job actions or legal procedures, according to the University statement. Since contract negotiations began in June 2016, the union has renewed its old contract with Yale on a month-to-month basis.
According to Matthews, the YPBA is currently “conducting the ratification process,” which he expects will conclude around the end of the month. Matthews said he and the YPBA negotiating team will bring the tentative agreement to the rest of the union’s members for their approval. This ratification process will occur over two meetings in the coming week, where the negotiating team will explain the new contract in detail followed by a question and answer session.
“The negotiating team has endorsed and is supporting the tentative agreement, and is encouraging the other members to vote ‘Yes’ in favor of the agreement,” Matthews said.
He noted that all 71 police officers and detectives that are members of the YPBA will be voting.
If members reject the agreement, and the agreement does not have a majority vote, the team would be forced to go back to the table for negotiations with the University. Matthews said he is confident and optimistic that the membership will overwhelmingly support the new agreement.
“We weren’t prepared to go back to the membership until we were satisfied that the membership would approve it,” Matthews said. “It doesn’t make sense to go back to the membership for a vote we know would be rejected.”
Lindner said the agreement continues Yale’s investment in highly competitive salaries, benefits and working conditions for the officers — ensuring that Yale continues to attract and retain outstanding women and men to serve in the Yale Police Department.
“Working in Yale is unlike most places. You must maintain a high degree of integrity and professionalism,” Matthews told the News. “I think this contract speaks volumes of the quality of the applicants and candidates of officers that Yale can attract.”
The Yale Police Department is located at 101 Ashmun St.
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