Senior police officers ready to bargain

Cornwall Community Police Service Board Vice Chairman Pat Finucan during a board meeting on Jan. 27, 2015. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – The notice is out and Cornwall’s senior officers are ready to start hammering out a new contract.

Police Services Board Vice Chairman Pat Finucan tells Cornwall Newswatch they recently received “notice to bargain” from the Cornwall Police Senior Officers Association.

The contract for six of the highest ranking police officer positions – inspectors and staff sergeants – expired at the end of 2014.

The Cornwall Community Police Service Board has not chosen a bargaining team for contract talks but Finucan indicated it will be soon. During the last round of talks the board met directly with the union.

“We will, as a board, come to a position on what we’d like to do with the collective agreement,” said Finucan. “Both parties to negotiations will be doing that. They’ll be establishing what they’d like to see as a outcome or result from bargaining,” he said.

“Negotiations is always a two-way street and the two parties have to respect each other and work together to come to an agreement,” said Finucan.

The last contract saw pay increases of 3.25 per cent in 2012, 2.75 per cent in 2013 and 2.5 per cent in 2014.

The deal also eliminated a sick leave plan which allowed the officers to bank time and then have it paid out – an unfunded liability for the police service.

That plan was replaced with a short-term sick leave plan with no accumulation of time allowed.

Meanwhile, the contract for 130 uniformed and civilian members of the force doesn’t expire until the end of 2015 but Finucan says it’s on their radar.

The last collective agreement between the police service board and the Cornwall Police Association saw officers get salary increases of 1.5 per cent in January 2013, 1.25 per cent in July 2013, 1.5 per cent in January 2014, one per cent in July 2014 and a final 1.5 per cent in January 2015.

The deal also removed a similar banked sick leave plan.

When it comes to negotiations with both groups, Finucan is confident they can get a deal without having to go to arbitration.

“Neither side wants to go to arbitration. Arbitration is just a dispute resolution service. It has an indirect impact on negotiations throughout the economy. The fact that it’s there, in the background, influences the two sides. They look at settlements elsewhere and they have a sense of what’s likely going to be acceptable,” Finucan said.

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