Milton Select Board releases statement regarding police union contract
3-year contract with 7% raise offered
The Milton Select Board released the following statement on Friday, April 17, 2020:
Recent public statements by Milton’s two police unions claiming that four members of the Select Board and the Town Administrator do not support them are inaccurate.
The Town Administrator has been engaged in informal contract discussions with the police unions for many months. The police unions have stated that it was a “relaxed format.” A few months ago, at the request of the Town Administrator, the Chair of the Select Board joined him in the discussions with the police unions. This was welcomed by the unions and supported by the Board. By March 9, 2020, according to the police unions, they were “extremely close” to reaching agreements with the Town. Within days, the COVID-19 pandemic exploded into a crisis in Massachusetts and across the country. Governor Baker issued a stay-at-home advisory, schools, businesses and religious organizations closed or reduced operations, Milton and other communities declared states of emergency, capital markets swung wildly, and unemployment claims skyrocketed. The national, state and local economies moved into recession almost overnight.
The four members of the Milton Select Board who have been personally attacked and the Town Administrator all support Milton’s public safety personnel and first responders. They all believe that public safety personnel and first responders are entitled to a fair contract. The question is: In this time of great uncertainty and economic free-fall, what amount of salary increase for the police unions can the Town sustain without having to adversely decrease Town services?
During the past month, many communities have paused salary negotiations with unions until there is greater economic clarity. For Milton there has been no such pause in its efforts for the police unions. While the Select Board has met twice per week to deal with a myriad of urgent COVID-19 issues, it has also continued to work hard on contracts for the police unions.
Most recently, on Wednesday, April 15, the police union representatives were told that the Town was finalizing a proposal, and that they would have it the next day. Notwithstanding that, the police unions began a propaganda campaign of personal attacks that evening.
As promised, the next day, despite the uncertainty and the economic collapse caused by COVID-19, the Town offered the police unions a three-year contract with salary increases of 7%. This is more than other Town unions received before the COVID-19 crisis. And it is certainly more than any other union has received since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis that we know of.
The reason for this is that the Select Board and the Town Administrator continue to support first responders, the Milton Police, and fair contracts for the police unions.