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New union employment contract agreed to by Florida city

The city of Fort Lauderdale recently agreed to a new police union contract. The employment contract covers topics such as take-home cars, pay raises, future pensions and even smoking. As part of the agreement, all officers will receive a pay raise of 1 percent, which is to go into effect retroactively, starting Oct. 2013. Officers will also receive a 2 percent pay raise in 2014.

While the mayor admits that the deal is not perfect, he did state that he believes his Florida city put forward a good and faithful effort. Large multi-million dollar savings will also benefit the city relating to the pension fund. For example, newly hired officers, are to receive less pension benefits if and when they retire from the police force.

Also, as a part of the new union contract, police officers will not be permitted to smoke inside city-owned vehicles. Furthermore, newly hired officers cannot be smokers. Drug tests will also be given randomly to officers.

The fact that both parties have finally agreed to the terms of the new employment contract is certainly positive news for the city. When a new contract cannot be agreed to, union strikes can sometimes result. Striking is a powerful tool used by Florida unions, although it can negatively affect the city greatly when certain services are put on pause during a strike. For example, if Fort Lauderdale police officers chose to go on strike, then the city could have been without important emergency services. Alternatively, if sanitation workers went on strike, then there would not be anyone available to pick up the garbage.

Source: articles.sun-sentinel.com, Fort Lauderdale, police union agree on new contract, Robert Nolin, Dec. 5, 2013

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