The Potluck

Minneapolis police union reaches tentative labor agreement

By: - March 4, 2022 1:14 pm

A Minneapolis police squad car in May 2021. Photo by Max Nesterak/Minnesota Reformer.

The Minneapolis police union and city have reached a tentative three-year deal that would give police 1% increases to wages and longevity pay in 2020, 1.5% in 2021, and 2.5% this year, plus a 2.5% “market adjustment” to their wages and longevity pay this year.

They would also get lump sum incentive payments. The agreement would give officers $3,500 once the deal is ratified, and $3,500 if they stay on the force through the end of 2022, in an effort to retain police officers in the wake of the 2020 police murder of George Floyd.

New officers would get $3,500 after completing their field training, and another $3,500 after completing probation.

The city has released a summary of the deal, not the whole agreement, which ends more than two years of negotiations since the last contract expired at the end of 2019. A Minneapolis City Council committee is scheduled to discuss the proposal on Monday. 

The agreement is sure to be controversial in Minneapolis, where Floyd’s murder led to protests and new scrutiny of police and a national racial reckoning. While increasingly under the microscope, the Minneapolis Police Department has seen droves of officers leave.

About 300 Minneapolis police officers had left MPD since 2020, including about 130 patrol officers — the equivalent of an entire precinct’s staff.

About 50 officers were on some kind of continuous leave, such as sick leave, as of the beginning of this year leaving fewer than 600 officers available to work. The city spent about $12 million on overtime last year while grappling with a staffing shortage. 

Police have been working under the expired contract, and this deal would last through the end of this year.

The deal with the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis also updates sick leave medical verification requirements — although it’s not clear how.

The proposal would also require a mental health screening prior to an officer returning to duty after a critical incident — where they or someone else is seriously harmed or killed — and give the police chief more authority to decide where to put them on duty afterward.

Jones Day, an international law firm based in Ohio, agreed in December 2020 to provide the city free legal assistance  with police reforms and possibly police union negotiations, but city spokesman Casper Hill said Tuesday Jones Day “had no direct involvement in the collective bargaining negotiation.” Hill said Jones Day provided legal advice, but was not at the negotiating table.

The firm later got a contract worth up to $1 million to help the city investigate police misconduct and represent the city while MPD is investigated by state and federal officials.

The firm is closely connected to Republican party politics, employing numerous former Trump administration lawyers, including former White House Counsel Don McGahn. 

This story was updated to clarify the city’s response to queries regarding Jones Day’s involvement in negotiations.

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Deena Winter
Deena Winter

Deena Winter has covered local and state government in four states over the past three decades, with stints at the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, as a correspondent for the Denver Post, city hall reporter in Lincoln, Nebraska, and regional editor for Southwest News in the western Minneapolis suburbs.