Sioux Falls Police, City Remain At Pay Wage Increase Impasse
Judge Rules Wednesday Mediation A Failure; Negotiations Go To Pierre In January
A judge ruled this week that mediation between the City of Sioux Falls and the police department regarding differences in pay wage increases a “failure.”
Now, the negotiations head to Pierre on January 12th, 2017, for a “fact-finding” hearing.
There, both parties will be able to present their sides on the issue to the Department of Labor.
The result of the hearing would come in the form of recommendations to both or one of the sides, such as splitting the difference or recommending one side change their position.
State law says that either side can disagree with the recommendation and continue with pre-existing conditions.
The Fraternal Order of Police says the three percent they are asking for is a “typical” rate of pay increase.
They believe that will give them a rate comparable to other cities that are Sioux Falls’ size.
Attorney Thomas Wilka, who is representing the Fraternal Order of Police, said the city hasn’t provided a good enough reason to keep the rate increase at 1.5 percent.
“You have excellence on one hand when they’re publicizing the virtue of the city, but in negotiations, the median or even below the median is somehow acceptable. We don’t think those two fit together very well,” said Wilka.
The city said in a statement they will “honor” the Order of Police’s request for a fact-finding hearing.
They also said they will continue “discussions in hopes of reaching a mutually beneficial labor agreement.”
Following the Department of Labor’s recommendations, the city can still legally deny the recommendations and impose a contract keeping the wage increase rate at 1.5 percent.
Negotiations between the City of Sioux Falls and the police department have been at an impasse since summer of this year.