The Los Angeles City Council adopted the police union's contract offer Friday, sending the contentious labor dispute into its final phase--a vote by the membership of the Police Protective League.
Meeting in closed session, the council voted 12 to 2 in favor of a 6% salary increase over two years, the first raise for the Police Department since 1991.
The tentative pact does not include a bonus for patrol officers or a restructuring of the detective ranks, which the city had sought, but the contract language calls for both matters to be hashed out in the coming year.
There is also no retroactive pay for the roughly two years that officers have sought a new contract.
Beginning patrol officers in the LAPD currently make $33,157--at least $2,800 more a year than those in New York, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and Houston. But they have slipped to eighth in pay among the 10 largest police departments in California, where some rookies make up to $10,000 a year more than beginning LAPD officers.
"I think it's like most negotiations--it's a compromise," said council President John Ferraro. "They didn't get everything they wanted and we didn't get everything we wanted."
The focus now shifts to the 7,000 members of the police union, who will meet Thursday to vote on the proposal.
Union leaders immediately began the process of selling the plan to members. They fielded telephone calls from rank-and-file officers throughout the day and planned to visit police roll calls in the coming days to lay out the details.
"This is a good deal during bad economic times," said union spokesman Geoffrey Garfield. "The city played ferocious hardball, and now here we are in the ninth inning and we've just knocked out some triples and homers."
If approved, the new contract will bring an end to a 2-year-old dispute that included officers picketing City Hall, staging a sickout and erecting billboards that depicted a carjacking.
Initially, the city balked at providing the officers with any raise, saying the city's tight budget made pay increases impossible. The union, on the other hand, demanded the same 9% raise over three years given to city utility workers.
"This is good for the cops and good for the city," said Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky, chairman of the council's Budget and Finance Committee. "Most importantly, this is something the city can afford."
Yaroslavsky and Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg met with union officials Tuesday night to hash out final details, leading the way to Friday's settlement.
The patrol bonus--which the Christopher Commission recommended to refocus the department's attention on street patrols--remained the final sticking point.
The union said giving patrol officers more than other officers would divide its membership. Councilman Marvin Braude voted against the contract proposal Friday because he said the city caved in to the union's opposition to patrol bonuses. "I believe the mayor and the council have made a serious mistake in ratifying this," said Braude, who chairs the council's Public Safety Committee.
Councilwoman Rita Walters cast the other no vote, saying the city cannot afford pay raises during tough economic times. Councilman Mike Hernandez was absent.