Following a long negotiation process, the City of Prince Albert and the municipal police service have settled a collective bargaining process.
On May 28, the Board of Police Commissioners signed off on the document, which outlines a contract set to run until the end of this year.
Acting Police Chief Jeff Rowden said officers have been without a contract since the middle of 2015. The situation was ultimately settled through arbitration.
“Sometimes people can be a little conflicted with that process, but at the end of the day, we’ve got to make decisions,” Rowden said. “If we have to involve a third party like we did this time, hopefully everybody is satisfied with that.”
He said now the negotiation process has concluded, officers can move on.
Darryl Hickie, the president of the Prince Albert Police Officers Association, said he was pleased the process was over.
“From our standpoint… it was a very long process, almost three years before we actually got this collective bargaining agreement settled with the city,” Hickie said. “We’re at the point now where we’re happy with the outcome, and having a collective bargaining agreement in place.”
He said the association is pleased with the wage settlement, which saw officers pay boosted 9.5 per cent between 2015 and 2018, a raise very close to what the association was after.
“We’re still a long ways away behind Regina and Sasaktoon and we do have some of the highest crime severity indexes in Canada still,” Hickie said. “When it comes to salaries, we’re going to keep looking at that moving forward.”
While an agreement has finally been reached, Hickie said the association will be sending the city formal notice in the fall to once again return to the bargaining table. The newly minted collective bargaining agreement concludes on Dec. 31, 2018.
Once notice has been served, Hickie said he hopes to return to the table soon after; he said he hopes to resolve the next agreement faster.
Going forward, the police association president said he hoped to see better benefit packages to take care of the young police force and their families.
“We’re hopeful the city will recognize that we’re going to be asking for certain things, and recognize that they’re going to have monetary value, and the city will be able to work with us to solve the situation much quicker, and smoother than last time,” Hickie said.
On Twitter: @BryanEneas
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