Anchorage police union OKs wage concessions

Posted: Sunday, May 17, 2009

ANCHORAGE - Members of the Anchorage police union have accepted wage concessions that would save the city millions in a contract approved in December.

The Anchorage Police Department Employees Association is the fourth collective bargaining unit to make concessions to help the city address revenue shortfalls.

Members of the police union voted 293-83 in favor of the concessions, which will save the city more than $870,000 this year.

The union has about 560 members.

All the deals must be approved by the Anchorage Assembly, which has agreed to concessions reached with firefighters.

The assembly still has before it deals with workers represented by the Teamsters and Operating Engineers unions as well as police.

"We're proud of them stepping forward just as the firefighters stepped forward," acting Mayor Matt Claman said. "It's really important for them to be part of the solution."

Like the firefighters, the police union agreed to roll back a 3 percent increase scheduled for this year. The overall savings of the firefighters' contract was more than $4 million, while the police union says it is offering the city a savings of $6.7 million.

The addition of a year to the existing contract was an important component of the agreement, according to Derek Hsieh, the police union president. He said the wage factor in that last year hasn't yet been decided, but the extra year provides stability.

"We have a large number of new and young employees, and to create an environment of stability is vital in order to keep those employees," Hsieh said.

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