The Phoenixville Police Association has a new contract to work with through 2013.
Borough Council unanimously approved the collective bargaining agreement for the group Tuesday evening. The contract includes retroactive raises and police will not have to contribute to pensions. If police stick with their current HMO plan, they'll incur costs, but if they enroll in a new, lower-tier HMO plan, they'll continue to receive health benefits at no cost.
The Phoenixville Police Association requested an arbitrator's ruling for the new contract. According to Borough Manager Jean Krack during a recess in Tuesday's meeting, the borough has been working on the 2011-2013 police contract for approximately two years. Under Pennsylvania law, police do not have the right to strike and an abitration board makes the final ruling.
Police will receive retroactive 2 percent raises beginning Jan. 1, 2011. In 2012, base wages will increase by 3 percent under the arbitrator's ruling, and in 2013, police will see 3.75 percent raises.
Additionally, union members reaching milestones of 10, 16 and 21 years will receive annual salary increases of $750, $1,000 and $1,250, respectively.
The arbitrator's ruling includes a lifetime cap on educational allowance of $20,000 per officer and a cap $4,000 per year for each officer. A uniform allowance will also be increased by $50.
Before the unanimous vote on the contract, Council President Richard Kirkner noted that the collective bargaining process works behind closed doors, and the public generally finds out all the details at the last minute with no feedback or buy-in.
Talks for a new contract beginning in 2013 are expected to start early next year.
Editor's Note: This article has been corrected to reflect that neither side in the process appoints the arbitration board, which makes the final decision.