EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 28, 2012

Lantigua settles contract with patrolmen's union

LAWRENCE — Mayor William Lantigua has reached a new agreement with the Lawrence Patrolmen’s Association ending a 30-month stalemate with the union’s 100 or so members, who have been working without a contract since July 1, 2010.

The five-year agreement with the rank-and-file officers mimics the one Lantigua reached last month with the Superior Officers Association, which includes three years of pay freezes retroactive to 2010 followed by 2.5 percent hikes over the next two years.

It leaves just two major city unions, including the firefighters, without contracts.

The agreement with the patrol officers would increase their annual base pay from $48,877 to $51,352, and cost the city a total of about $300,000.

Union president Alan Andrews did not return phone calls yesterday. Matt Dwyer, the union’s lawyer, said only a handful of the union’s 100 or so members opposed the contract in a recent vote.

The union’s approval allowed the contract to go to the City Council, whose budget committee approved it in a 3-1 vote Tuesday night. The contract goes to the full council on Tuesday.

Only Councilor Daniel Rivera, who chairs the budget committee, voted against it, although he said he may vote for it on Tuesday. He said similar pay increases negotiated by former Mayor Michael Sullivan turned out to be unaffordable and led Lantigua to lay off about 40 police officers six months after he took office in 2010.

“I just don’t think we know enough about how we’re going to pay for these raises and how it impacts the rest of the (outstanding) collective bargaining agreements,” Rivera said. “I’d hate to promise 2.5 percent pay raises two years from now and not be able to pay for it.”

Robert Nunes, the city’s state-appointed fiscal overseer, signed off on the contract. He said yesterday that the city’s unions have gone long enough without an agreement.

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