Members of the Estevan Police Association (EPA) have a new collective bargaining agreement, bringing an end to a negotiation that spanned nearly two years and ended up in arbitration.
A three-person arbitration panel ruled in December that the EPA – which represents members of the Estevan Police Service – would receive a 5.4 per cent wage increase over three years for the deal, which is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2019.
EPA members will receive a 1.5 per cent increase for 2019, 1.2 per cent increase for the first six months of 2020, another 1.2 per cent increase for the second half of 2020, and a 1.5 per cent increase for 2021.
The previous agreement expired at the end of 2018 and the new pact ends on Dec. 31, 2021.
The police association was seeking 6.4 per cent over three years, with two per cent in 2019, 2.2 per cent in 2020 and 2.2 per cent in 2021, while the Estevan board of police commissioners countered with 3.5 per cent over three years, with .5 per cent in 2019, and 1.5 per cent in each of 2020 and 2021.
The association and the police board went to arbitration after they couldn’t come to terms on a new deal through negotiations and mediation.
“It was unfortunate that it went ot arbitration, but both sides weren’t happy after negotiating several times,” said Mayor Roy Ludwig, who is the chair of the police board. “It was decided by the parties that we would go to arbitration, and of course, arbitration is never ideal.”
Sgt. Kevin Reed, who is the president of the EPA, said they accept the findings of the arbitrator. He noted the EPA was seeking increases similar to other municipal police associations in the province.
“The Estevan Police Association went into the arbitration with a fair position when we take into consideration all the numbers previously settled by the other five police associations,” Reed said.
Despite the length of time needed to reach a new agreement, neither side characterized the negotiations as acrimonious, with Reed even praising the police board for a presentation to the arbitrators on the challenges currently facing Estevan.
This week's edition of the Mercury will have more on this story.