City Police Union Files Arbitration Complaint

FOP Alleges Collusion with Peduto Administration

Joe DeStio
January 13, 2020 - 3:33 pm

Pittsburgh Police

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PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - The head of Pittsburgh's police union has filed a complaint with the American Arbitration Association in an effort to reverse a recent contract award to his members.

Fraternal Order of Police president Robert Swartzwelder tells KDKA Radio, "This award is so patently slanted, it seems to me that this arbitrator worked directly for the Peduto administration."

The union representing some 900 police officers will get a 16 % pay hike over four years. However, the hikes are phased in each year so Swartzwelder says, "The officers aren't really receiving  a 16 % raise. The way it has been gauged, it absolutely matches what the mayor originally proposed, almost cent for cent."

As approved by a three member arbitration panel, police will get retroactive pay raises for 2019 including 1% at the start of the year, 1% effective April 1 and 2% as of July 1. Officers get a 2% bump January 1 of this year and anotherr 2% July 1. In 2021 and 2022 they get 3% increases January 1 and 1% July 1.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto rejects any hint of collusion and told KDKA-TV, "There has never been a time when I have done something that would harm our police officers, and I never would."

Peduto maintains the union presented 26 issues for the panel to consider and they got something for each of them. "And what that meant is each of them was watered down in order to get to the requests by the FOP leadership," said Peduto.

Swartzwelder says city firefighters and emergency medical workers got larger raises. And he expects police officers will again leave the city for better paying suburban jobs.

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