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City of Covington Reaches Agreements with FOP, AFSCME Unions

Members of two of the three City of Covington's employee unions have new contracts that include pay raises and make other adjustments in benefits and pay.
The Covington city commission approved new 18-month labor agreements Tuesday with both the Fraternal Order of Police, Covington Lodge No. 1, and Local 237 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO, which represents non-uniformed union employees.
"The negotiations were long and sometimes a little intense, but in the end we wound up with two agreements that represent some give-and-take on the parts of both the City and its union members," said Assistant City Manager Frank Warnock, who led the City's negotiating teams. "The bottom line is that our employees are valuable, both to us as an employer and to the public, and they deserve to be treated fairly.
"They display a high level of professionalism," he added. "The members care about the City and want it to do well."
The contracts both run from Jan. 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019, the end of the coming fiscal year. The cycle was changed at the City Commission's direction to align future contracts with the City's budget cycle and make budgeting easier, Warnock said.
The FOP contract applies to 108 officers in the Department.
Among its provisions: 
  • Raises in base pay of 3 percent retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018, and additional 2 percent raises that take effect July 1, 2018. The second raise is 2.5 percent for sergeants, lieutenants, and captains. 
  • A new incentive program for non-use of sick days. FOP members who use one hour or less during Fiscal Year 2019 (July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019) will receive $1,500; 11 hours or less, $1,000; and 21 hours or less, $500. The program will be evaluated after a year to decide whether to continue it. It's designed to reduce the amount of unscheduled overtime used by the Police Department, Warnock said. Other police and fire departments have implemented similar plans. 
  • A $1,000 uniform and clothing allowance. 
  • The addition of four positions - Honor Guard, Chaplain, Traffic, and Bike Patrol - to the list of Special Duty Assignments used at the discretion of the Police Chief, and increases in the weekly pay for those assignments to $15 from $10. 
The AFSCME contract applies to 45 members who work primarily in the Department of Public Works.
Among its provisions: 
  • Raises in base pay of 3 percent retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018, and additional 2 percent raises that take effect Jan. 1, 2019. 
  • An increase in longevity pay of 50 cents to $14 (per month per year of service). 
  • Clarity in how travel time is treated for emergency call-outs. Employees will be paid ½ hour of pay for travel time (regardless of how long it takes), but the travel will not be considered time at work for purposes of workers' compensation claims or for calculating benefits. 
Money for the contractual raises is included in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget being considered by the City Commission this week.
While Warnock said he was relieved that the contract negotiations were completed, he noted that negotiations with the City's third union, Covington Professional Firefighters Local 38, will begin soon. The contract with Local 38 expires at the end of 2018.
-Staff report