UC, police union reach agreement on new contract

The University of California announced Thursday that it had reached an agreement with the UC systemwide police officers’ union on a new contract that will be valid for 15 months.

Ratified by the police union July 8, the contract retroactively began July 1 and will extend until Sept. 30, 2012.

“It is a new agreement, but the main provisions haven’t changed,” said UC spokesperson Dianne Klein. “For example, it did not include any salary increases.”

According to the new contract, police officers who have been at the top tier of their pay scale for at least one year will receive a monthly payment of $100 for 15 months. Officers who are at a top step and move up a step in the pay scale due to longevity will stop receiving the monthly payment.

Klein said the monthly payment can be viewed as a temporary bonus rather than a permanent pay increase. The 249 university police officers will continue to progress through the pay scale based on years of service and eligibility.

The police union — the Federated University Police Officers Association — represents the systemwide bargaining unit for the university’s police officers. The association represented the Police Officers Unit during the previous contract agreement that ran from Oct. 10, 2008 through June 30, 2011.

As per the union negotiations, police officers will begin paying new 2012 premium rates for health insurance in January 2012, though Klein said she did not know the specific amount of the rates.

As part of the new agreement, police officers will pay 1.5 percent of their salary base pay into the university systemwide retirement plan, according to Klein. She added that non-union university employees are paying 3.5 percent and that each union negotiates this rate with the university separately.

The negotiated provisions in the new contract were agreed upon through collaborative effort by both the association and the university, Klein said.

This new contract agreement will be continued on a year-to-year basis, unless the university or the association gives written notice 60 calendar days prior to Sept. 30, 2012 or the subsequent date of the annual contract renewal.

“As far as I know, I don’t see it having a great effect on any changes on the campus,” said UCPD Lt. Marc DeCoulode.

On the UC Berkeley campus, UCPD has 64 sworn officials, including officers, sergeants, lieutenants, captains and the chief, according to DeCoulode. He added the new contract agreement only applies to police officers.

“It’s pretty apparent that the campus is in financially challenging times so that affects everyone,” he said.

According to Klein, negotiations for the new agreement were not protracted, because both sides had a good attitude and realized what was at stake with the university’s current economic challenges.

“We’re in the midst of a financial crisis — we’re in a billion dollar budget deficit,” Klein said. “The good news about these negotiations was they were cordial and everybody cooperated and they came to an agreement and people moved on. I think both sides understood the tough financial situation.”