Medicine Hat and Local Police Force Headed to Mediation
The town of Medicine Hat and the local police union have entered mediation proceedings in an effort to resolve contract talks. Negotiations have been ongoing for a year, but to date, no agreement has been reached. The mediation is the last of the five collective bargaining actions regarding the city’s attempt to freeze wages for employees.
Neither side chose to make a public comment about where they stood or the general feelings of how the bargaining had gone so far. They did confirm that mediation has begun though.
According to the Medicine Hat human resources manager, the two sides are participating in mediation and there are high hopes for a resolution. No further public statements were made by either side.
The current contract between Medicine Hat and the police union covers approximately 114 members that includes both officers and administrative staff. It expired at the end of 2016. Meetings have been ongoing since that point, but the union members have been working under their old contract.
It is one of five contracts with the city that were part of the wage freeze in 2017 that was put in place to meet budget goals. The other contracts included those with powerline workers, electrical workers, transit worker, and firefighters. Those contract disputes were settled and included 2% raises for members. The police contract was the only one that was outstanding, but the public was not given a reason for the delay.
If mediation should fail – something both sides are hopeful will not happen – the next step would be to go in front of an arbitration board to resolve the issue.