City leaders and the San Antonio Police Officer’s Association are praising a long-awaited deal on a new contract. There are some concessions on each side but both welcomed the end of two years of negotiations at a City Hall press conference Wednesday.
It took the help of a court-ordered mediator to craft a deal between the city and police union. Wages, healthcare, and the evergreen clause caused the most disagreements. Police Union President Mike Helle said much of the credit goes to San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor. “It took her initiative and it took her ability and leadership in order to make some of the city side, especially the accounting piece of it, to get in line,” he said.
In the end, police officers will have to pay for dependent premiums on most plans; something that has never been in past contracts. City Manager Sheryl Sculley says that was one of the biggest hurdles. “I think in the early stages in this the union was just resistant to change,” Sculley said. "This contract had been in place for more than 25 years. The union members have never contributed to the cost of healthcare for themselves or their families and I think we all know in this day and age that is not affordable and certainly not sustainable.”
There’s a 17 percent raise for police, part of which is a lump sum payment. And there’s a slightly shorter evergreen clause, down to eight years from 10. The city’s lawsuit against the evergreen clause is stayed pending ratification of the contract within 60 days. This does not affect the lawsuit or contract negotiations with the fire union.