The Nutter administration announced Friday it would not appeal an arbitration award to the city’s police force, providing raises of 3 percent, retroactive to last July 1, and another 4 percent next July 1. The package is projected to cost $15.5 million this year and about $150 million over the next five years.
Despite the costs, the administration says its five-year contract with the Fraternal Order of Police provided significant structural improvements, the biggest a self-insurance plan for health benefits that’s saved taxpayers millions of dollars.
Nutter has drawn heavy flak from the city’s other unions – AFSCME District Councils 33 and 47, whose members have been working without raises or contracts since mid-2009, and the city firefighters, who’ve twice won raises in arbitration proceedings, only to watch the city delay the pay increases by appealing them to the courts.
The city contends it cannot afford the firefighters’ awards because there are no associated savings through new insurance or pension arrangements. The city’s latest appeal is pending in Commonwealth Court.
"This is another slap in the face to us," said a statement from the firefighters union president, Bill Gault.
The president of District Council 33, Pete Matthews, said he wasn’t against the Police Department getting raises, but added: “The mayor should be fair to everybody. I’ve been saying he’s a dictator. I guess dictators need police protection.”