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June 12, 1997

Police reach agreement with Pitt on first contract in three years

The union representing Pittsburgh campus police has reached a contract settlement with the University that calls for retroactive raises plus pay increases in each of the next three years.

The 54 members of the University of Pittsburgh Police Association (UPPA) — including police officers, guards and dispatchers — have been working under contract extensions since their last contract expired on June 30, 1994. The campus police have not had a salary increase since July 1, 1993.

Under the new four-year contract, UPPA members will receive a 4 percent pay increase retroactive to July 1, 1996, and 3 percent increases in each of the following three years.

The new agreement also includes increases in uniform allowances and compensation for court appearances, and it calls for UPPA members to pay for a portion of their health insurance coverage.

A mediator from the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board helped to broker the agreement, UPPA President Albert Fink said.

"I think it's a relief for everybody that this [contract negotiation] is finally over," Fink said. "The officers all believe we should be getting paid more and receiving better benefits, but right now we're just happy to get this contract." The top pay for a Pitt campus police officer with three years' experience is $29,200, compared with $40,000-plus for a Pittsburgh city police officer with the same number of years on the job, Fink said.

Pitt's police department is the third-largest in Allegheny County.

According to Fink, the morale of UPPA members' suffered during the protracted negotiations. "A lot of the officers believed the University administration basically let us down," he said. "They [administrators] talked about how we were doing a good job and acting professionally, but they weren't willing to give us the salary and benefits" to reflect that job performance.

Pitt Director of Communications Ken Service called the new contract "a fair one" that reflects the University's tight budgetary situation "as well as the importance and high quality of the job that the Pitt campus police do." — Bruce Steele

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