Council to Vote on 3% Raise for Police

A proposed new contract with the union that represents La Crosse police would give officers a 3% raise for each of the next three years.

The agreement, which will come before the common council’s finance and personnel committee on Thursday, would give officers a 1% raise in January, followed by a 2% increase next September. Those pay increases would then be repeated in 2022 and 2023.

The city’s contract with the La Crosse Professional Police Non-Supervisory Association, Local #26, expires on December 31 and negotiations on the new deal have been ongoing for some time.

Also at Thursday’s meeting, the finance and personnel committee will vote on a proposed new contract with the La Crosse Professional Police Supervisory Association. The tentative agreement would pay the same percentage raises as the contract with the non-supervisory association. 

A dollar amount for the cost of the raises was not included in the documents attached to the agenda for Thursday’s meeting but that number will be significant. The police department has 99 sworn officers. In 2019, a La Crosse police officer made $64,458 on average; a sergeant made $88,010; a lieutenant made $99,526; and a captain made $104,942. The numbers come from the city of La Crosse in an article published by the La Crosse Tribune in August.

In May, the city announced it was making over $4 million in cutbacks to its budget because of the economic downturn precipitated by COVID-19. The cutbacks resulted in four full-time and 11 part-time positions being cut at the La Crosse Public Library.

At that time, there were protests calling on the police department to shoulder more of the burden of the cutbacks, which fell disproportionately on the library and parks and recreation department. That did not happen and the police budget has emerged from the downturn and this year’s protests largely untouched. Additionally, plans for a $36 million public safety center, which would house a new police and fire station, are expected to move forward in 2021.

Also on the agenda at Thursday’s finance and personnel committee meeting is a proposed new union contract with the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local #519, which represents workers at La Crosse Municipal Transit. The proposed two-year agreement would pay a 2.5% raise in January and then another 2.5% raise in 2022. After Thursday’s meeting, the union contracts with police and transit workers will likely move to the full common council for a vote on Dec. 10.

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