Police union to mayor: We want renegotiation proposals beneficial to both sides

MADISON, Wis.– Madison Police union’s contract isn’t up for another 13 months, but the city wants to make some changes now.

The force will face a five percent cut in next year’s operating budget. Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway called on the Madison Professional Police Officers Association to reopen its contract and renegotiate items she finds no longer realistic.

In a public message regarding tough choices on the budget, Rhodes-Conway said the previous administration approved a 3.75 percent raise for police in 2021. She said that raise is no longer affordable.

“I have been asking the police union to reopen their contract, but they have declined so far,” Rhodes-Conway said.

The union’s president, Kelly Powers, said he’s sat down for multiple meeting with the city to discuss renegotiation, but the city’s hasn’t made any reasonable offers to benefit both parties involved.

“What’s happening is that the mayor is asking us to open that contract that was bargained for in good faith,” Powers said. “We understand that the city has some needs right now, but in order for us to help facilitate that, we aren’t going to bargain against ourselves.”

In a letter addressing the mayor’s October message, Powers said the city’s demands ignore the sacrifices officers make everyday to serve the public.

“We’ve made plenty of concessions on our part over the years, particularly as it relates to this contract already,” Powers said. “We would have had an open ear here, however the approach that has been used here is kind of ridiculous.”

In response to MPPOA’s letter, the mayor said all city departments were asked to make cuts. Rhodes-Conway said the city’s fire union chose to take health care concessions to receive the same amount as other city employees.

“We offered the police union several options for compromise, which they declined without presenting an alternative,” Rhodes-Conway said.

Powers said the union’s current contract is good through the end of 2021. Contract negotiations for 2022 and beyond will begin in May.