Philadelphia’s police union has agreed to a one-year contract extension due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mayor Jim Kenney, during a news conference Monday afternoon, confirmed the deal and said his administration was “confident” it could also strike one-year extensions with the three municipal unions representing blue-collar and white-collar workers along with the firefighters. Those negotiations are underway.
“We did this now so our employees could focus on the health crisis at hand rather than a month of contract negotiations,” Kenney said.
John McNesby, president of Lodge 5 of the Fraternal Order of Police, on Sunday evening posted details of the extension on Facebook.
McNesby said the union and city officials reached the deal over the weekend, a shift in tone from three years ago, when the FOP contract expired in June and a new deal was not reached until August.
“With the economy, stock market, and general fund taking severe dives, I approached the city to possibly extend our contract by one year,” McNesby wrote. “The way things were looking, we wouldn’t be able to present any testimony for months, and if we were to receive a new deal, it probably would not be very favorable.”
The contract extension gives Philadelphia’s 6,300 police officers a 2.5% pay increase May 1, followed by a $750 signing bonus July 1.
A smaller group of deputies represented by the FOP in the Sheriff’s Office get a 2.25% percent increase and a $400 bonus.
The extension makes no changes to pension provisions, medical coverage, or residency requirements for police officers.
“This will give us a year for the economy to recover and give us a clearer picture on what we will be dealing with,” McNesby wrote on Facebook, thanking Kenney’s administration for working on the extension.
Kenney’s staff has confirmed that some police officers have tested positive for the coronavirus but declined to say how many.
Kenney said the city remains committed to changes in the Police Department, which has been rocked by sexual harassment complaints.
“Under this extension, allegations of harassment or discrimination will be investigated by the employees relationship unit of the Office of Human Relations, rather than by the Police Department itself,” Kenney said. “We are still committed to seeking discipline and other operational reforms and a new long-term contract that will be negotiated next year.”
The city and FOP agreed to a three-year deal in August 2017 for the contract that had expired two months earlier. That contract, which included raises of about 3% in each year, cost the city $245 million.