Ohio City Lawmakers OK Police Union Contract, End Long Fight over Deal

June 28, 2024
The Dayton City Commission OK'd new three-year contracts with both the officers unit and supervisors unit of the Fraternal Order of Police, avoiding a conciliator to make a final decision.

Dayton's elected leaders have approved a pair of collective bargaining agreements with the city's police unions that prevent their contract disputes from heading to a conciliator for a final determination.

Although the police contracts increase starting wages for new police officers, it notably does not trigger the "me-too" wage escalator clauses in the city's other union contracts that could have been very costly.

City officials say the new contracts should help with police recruitment.

The Dayton City Commission on Wednesday night approved new three-year contracts with both the officers unit and the supervisors unit of the Fraternal Order of Police.

The FOP contracts call for wage increases of 7% in 2024, 4% in 2025 and 3% in 2026.

These are the same wage increases that the city's other bargaining units agreed to in their contracts, said Ken Couch, Dayton's human resource director.

The city and the police unions ended up at an impasse earlier this year after the city commission rejected the recommendations of a fact-finder report.

The next and final step of negotiations would have been for the matter to go to conciliation, which is final, binding arbitration. The hearing was scheduled for July 17. The conciliator would have ruled in favor of the city or the union.

But the city and police union representatives took part in mediation earlier this month and managed to reach a resolution.

There was a lot at stake in these negotiations. The city has me-too clauses with its other unions that would have been triggered if the police unions received greater base compensation.

The clauses essentially guarantee that a union will get the same base wage increases as other bargaining units, if they get a sweeter deal.

Couch said the new police contract provides officers with a one-time payment when they complete their firearm certification.

He said the contract also changes the officer pay structure, eliminating lower steps that provided lower pay.

Police recruit graduates who are sworn in will now have an annual starting pay of $71,600, Couch said. That's roughly a $10,000 increase over the starting salary the city listed for new 2023 appointees on its JoinDaytonPD.com website.

"We wanted to put the money where we need it the most — it's our younger, less senior officers who tend to want to leave," Couch said. "We want them to stay. We want to tell them they are important to us and we want to pay them accordingly."

The city has now reached new contracts with all five of its unions, Couch said.

Dayton City Commissioner Darryl Fairchild said he's very happy the city and the police unions reached mutually acceptable agreements. He said the contract negotiations were keeping him up at night with worry.


(c)2024 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

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