JUST IN time for the holiday season, city police officers learned Thursday that an independent arbitration panel reopened a five-year police contract granted in 2009 and issued an award that includes two years of wage increases.
"This puts a little money in their pockets," said John McNesby, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, who estimated it could mean roughly $1,800 a year for the average cop. "The contract the city received is pretty good."
The question now is whether the Nutter administration will appeal.
"At this point, the award has just been made public," said mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald, adding that the city is reviewing the award and its cost to the city. "We have not made a decision on what we will do."
The administration must decide within 30 days.
The award secures benefits previously awarded and includes a 3 percent retroactive pay increase for this year, another 3 percent pay increase for 2013 and a 1 percent stress-pay bump.
In 2009, the police were awarded 7 percent raises over three years with the opportunity to negotiate for further raises in the last two years of the deal. That contract was said to add at least $123.5 million over five years, including raises and the loss of expected savings. The deal included pension and health-care changes, which McNesby said helped save the city money. Nutter also praised the deal at the time.
McNesby called the panel's decision a victory for the FOP. In 2014 the FOP will have to work out a new contract.
Meanwhile, the unions that represent the city's blue- and white-collar workers have been without a contract since 2009. At City Hall on Thursday, more than a dozen members expressed their frustrations in a song titled "Twelve Days of Nutter," and included a member dressed as the Grinch. Nutter also recently appealed an arbitration award for the city's firefighters, arguing it would be too costly for the city.