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Minneapolis negotiators reject “expensive” police union offer

(Elijah Todd-Walden/Center for Broadcast Journalism)

City of Minneapolis contract negotiators rejected an offer by the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, stating that the offer “wasn’t fiscally responsible.”

The offer entailed a 5.25% pay raise with an 8% market rate adjustment. Overall, this would signal a 13% pay raise for all officers, but did not include any police accountability measures. Minneapolis Director of Labor Relations Rasheda Q. Deloney said if the city accepted this proposal, it would cost an additional $11 million per year.

The union’s attorney Jim Michels said that the offer was meant as an immediate measure to stave off mounting pressures to retain officers, The Star Tribune reported. He said that officers are leaving to join higher paying departments.

In 2019, Minneapolis police had the third-highest starting wage of all law enforcement in the state, according to a review by the state’s Office of the Legislative Auditor. Starting pay for officers ranged around $73,000 to $90,000 in the last contract. Officers are also eligible for overtime, with over 70% of officers making more than six figures in 2022.

Minneapolis’s police budget has ballooned since 2020, with the budget then being just under $182 million, and now being projected at $205 million. Over $111 million of that is set for patrols, a $13 million increase from last year.

Minneapolis is also pressed to reign in misconduct on the force, as is mandated by agreements from both state and federal courts. Activists have called on the city to use the labor negotiations to put weight behind the reforms needed. They view contract negotiations as an opportunity to build in greater police accountability measures.

Michelle Gross, the president of Communities United Against Police Brutality and a member of Minneapolis for a Better Police Contract, said in an interview with the Center for Broadcast Journalism in September that labor negotiations are the most critical step in implementing police accountability measures.

“The provisions of this contract will be especially important as the city begins the work on the Minnesota Department of Human Rights consent decree and the very likely Department of Justice consent decree,” Gross said. According to the city of Minneapolis’ website, “a consent decree is a legally binding agreement, where the court supervises the implementation of the agreement.”

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