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CPs, Institute Reach Contract Agreement

By Frank Dabek

The longstanding contract dispute between MIT and the Campus Police has finally been resolved.

The two sides, which have been in negotiations since 1997, have agreed to a new contract which addresses the main sticking points of the dispute: work schedules, forced overtime, and Suffolk County deputization.

David Achenbach, manager of labor relations for the Institute and MIT’s chief negotiator, said that MIT is pleased with the agreement. Achenbach did not point to a single breakthrough which facilitated the new contract. Rather, the resolution of outstanding details delayed the final agreement.

“The outline of this plan was agreed on months, if not years, ago,” Achenbach said.

Alan McDonald, negotiator for the Campus Police Association, pointed to the new work schedule as the final stumbling block to be overcome. CP officers agreed to work a slightly longer (8.5 hour) work day in return for a scheduling plan which gives them an extra 17 days of free time each year.

Quality of life and personal time issues were crucial to the Association, McDonald said. “We are satisfied that progress has been made” in those areas, McDonald said.

The new contract was accepted by an overwhelming majority of the union, according to CPA President Kevin Hayes. The agreement was formally signed on March 14.

Pay raise, deputization part of deal

The new work schedule comes in concert with a new overtime agreement. The two parties agreed on an MIT-proposed program that would allow officers to work voluntary overtime and reduce the chances that they would be tapped for involuntary overtime work.

Under the old system, no correlation existed between voluntary and involuntary overtime. “That never made any sense,” Achenbach said.

The new policy will be implemented as a sixth-month pilot program, but both sides are confident that it will be received warmly.

Campus Police have also won a wage increase that will be applied retroactively to pay dating from 1997. The wage agreement includes an increase in the compensation for EMT training, which the CPA had long demanded.

However, the new agreement failed to address educational benefits, which had previously been hotly contested by the Association.

With the new agreement, the Association has agreed to give up their opposition to being deputized in Suffolk County. This deputization is crucial to MIT’s plans to expand CP coverage to Boston-based FSILGs, and MIT had previously accused the CPA of refusing deputization to gain leverage in the negotiations.

Other legal issues still outstanding

In addition to agreeing to deputization, the Association agreed to withdraw several labor practice violation complaints. According to McDonald, complaints stemming from retroactive pay and the issue of Suffolk county deputization have been rendered moot by the agreement.

Several other complaints and cases in arbitration are still pending despite the new contract. This includes a complaints stemming from a change to the sick leave policy, a sex-discrimination charge, work rules complaints, and a charge that Association members were subjected to unfair surveillance while leafletting in support of their cause, McDonald said.

That leafletting, according to Achenbach, was unusual for Institute labor disputes but did not play a role in the negotiations. “There was never a groundswell of support” to make the publicity an issue at the bargaining table, Achenbach said.