OIG Releases Report Describing the City’s Labor Agreements with its Police Officers and Firefighters

The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) has published a review of the collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) that govern the relationships between the City of Chicago and its police officers and firefighters.  These CBAs affect nearly 17,000 current employees—over half the City’s workforce—and contain provisions that have a substantial financial impact on the City. On June 30, 2012, the CBAs expired.

The purpose of this review is to provide members of the City Council and City residents with reader friendly information on the contract provisions so that as new contracts are negotiated, these stakeholders may be better informed of the various provisions in the CBAs.

“City stakeholders have long been left without a comprehensive review of the accretion of costs and work restrictions that have crept into the City’s collective bargaining agreements with its public safety unions over the years,” said Inspector General Joe Ferguson.  “The complex and at times obscure terms of the CBAs make such a review necessary for a truly informed understanding of what City government spends on one of the largest categories of the City budget.  As the City continues to address its long-term structural deficit, understanding how existing public safety CBAs affect the City’s operations is a key to identifying ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of City services and, in the process, identifying possible budgetary savings.”

The report details major provisions of the CBAs including:

  • In 2011, 15 percent of the wages of police officers and firefighters came from payments they received in addition to their regular salaries.  These payments were in a variety of categories including overtime, duty availability pay, uniform allowance, and physical fitness exam pay.
  • The agreement between the City and its firefighters effectively sets the minimum number of firefighters that the City must employ.
  • Both police officers and firefighters receive up to 1 year of sick leave within any 2 year period for non-duty related illnesses or injuries
  • The agreement between the City and its police officers prohibits the City from eliminating the ranks of Detective, Evidence Technician, Police Laboratory Technician, Forensic Investigator and Field Training Officer.

The City’s CBAs with its police officers and firefighters can be found here.