New Castle County police remain unhappy with progress on contract negotiations
New Castle County’s police union publicly protested the state of contract negotiations with the County for a third time Friday— outside of a New Castle County Chamber of Commerce breakfast.
The New Castle County Police union’s current contract with the county ran out in March. The union and the county have been negotiating a new agreement for the better part of a year, but the two parties have not reached a deal.
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 President Jonathon Yard says the union is proposing members shoulder a higher percentage of healthcare costs in exchange for pay increases.
“But the narrative of, ‘this is the cost of living increase that we’re offering, take it or leave it,’ basically has a large amount of our members and officers losing money as a part of [the County’s] overall proposal,” he said.
County officials contest this.
The union also wants to secure pay scale increases for officers between fourteen and twenty years of service. “One of the things that we need to address as a whole is the recruiting and our retention of officers,” said Yard. “One of those ways is that we’re looking at a continuous increase for our officers as they progress in their careers. ” Yard says he has been serving on the force for fourteen years.
County Executive Matt Meyer says there is no problem with retention of officers before the twentieth year of service— when they can retire with a pension. “We need to make sure that we’re treating the guy out there risking his life everyday as well as we’re treating everybody else in the organization."
“In the course of negotiations I’ve made that very clear. We’re not going to prioritize the guys who are in union leadership who have had decades of experience on the police force to get them higher percentage increase raises than guys in their first few years of service," he added.
Meyer says the county is “very close” to reaching a deal with the union.