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Local News

April 18, 2014

Superior officers still without a contract

BEVERLY — Contract negotiations between the city and the Beverly Police Superior Officers Association remain at an impasse nearly three years after their last agreement expired.

The two sides have met with a mediator several times, including last Friday, in attempt to reach an agreement. Mayor Mike Cahill said the two sides will continue with the mediation process in search of a resolution.

“I respect the superior officers, and I respect the collective bargaining process, and we’re working through that,” he said.

The union represents 16 captains, lieutenants and sergeants. The officers are working under the terms of their last contract, which expired in June of 2011.

Under that agreement, salaries are $92,273 for captains, $80,237 for lieutenants and $68,579 for sergeants.

The union filed a petition with the Massachusetts Joint Labor-Management Committee in April 2013 asking the board to intervene in the negotiations after six bargaining sessions with the city.

The union listed the disputed issues as “wages, duration and other terms and conditions of employment,” according to a copy of the petition.

Union president Lt. Michael Devlin could not be reached for comment.

Under the process set forth by the labor management committee’s rules, the committee first assigns a mediator to work with the two sides. If an agreement cannot be reached, the mediator can bring in members of the committee who represent both management and labor.

If there is still no agreement, the two sides select an arbitrator and present their cases at a hearing. The mayor and union are bound by the decision of the arbitrator, although the funding for the contract must be approved by the City Council.

According to the Massachusetts Municipal Association, it is “extremely rare” for a municipal council to reject an arbitrator’s ruling.

Last fall, an arbitrator awarded a 25.4 percent raise over six years to the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association. The state says that fewer than 15 percent of cases before the Joint Labor Management Committee go to arbitration.

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