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News covering policy and issues related to city and county governments in the Ozarks.

Collective Bargaining Agreement Approved, to go Into Effect Wednesday

Scott Harvey

Springfield City Council on Tuesday approved a collective bargaining agreement with the Springfield Police Officers’ Association (SPOA), a day after the union ratified the contract.

Negotiations had been at an impasse since September as both sides failed to come to terms on wages (Article 18). A hearing was then held before the arbitrator in January. And on Friday, City Council accepted an arbitrator’s recommendations.  

The agreement is the first of its kind between the city and police union. It goes into effect Wednesday and runs through June 30, 2017.

The 35-page document features 26 articles ranging from labor management meetings and internal affairs to non-discrimination policy and a no strike/lockout commitment.

Police Chief Paul Williams said in a news release that agreement also formalizes a number of things that are already established practice within the police department. Also, it establishes a framework for additional structure in areas such as grievances and internal investigations.

“All in all, a historic time for the Springfield Police Department that I was pleased to be a part of,” Williams said.

The agreement also creates new rules on union activity and specialized leave, as well as new procedures for how to handle tie scores when promotions are being considered.

“Gathering collectively to bargain in good faith in a professional manner led to honest, factual discussions that took place at the negotiations table – and not in an emotional public forum,” said City Manager Greg Burris. “The fact that both parties have some things they are happy with and some things they are unhappy with is probably indicative of it being a good compromise.”

The city and police union began collective bargaining in May 2013.

Follow Scott Harvey on Twitter: @scottksmu

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