City approves labor agreement with Great Falls police union

About 75 percent of city employees are under collective bargaining agreements and the city regularly negotiates labor contracts with multiple labor unions.

Earlier this week, the City Commission approved the new agreement with the Great Falls Police Protective Association. This agreement is effective July 1 to June 30, 2019 and includes some significant adjustments related to pay and health care coverage.

During the last week, the firefighter union has been negotiating their new labor agreement with the city. That agreement will come to the commission soon for formal approval.

To make wage adjustment proposals, city staff and GFPPA use comparison data from the top seven Montana. City Manager Greg Doyon said during Tuesday’s meeting that the wage adjustments will move Great Falls more to the middle of the pack for police officers among those Montana cities.

Great Falls city employees were slated for a 3 percent cost of living adjustment for the current fiscal year, but after comparing wage information for confirmed police officers, the city proposed to make an additional 2 percent market adjustment to keep competitive wages with a 2.5 percent market adjustment and 3 percent cost of living increase in the next fiscal year. That higher rate in year two is because GFPPA agreed to some changes to medical plan contributions.

The projected financial impact in this fiscal year is $233,856 and the projected impact for year to is $270,104 for a total agreement impact of $503,960.

Funds for the police department staff generally come from the city’s general fund. The GFPD requested six new officers in this year’s budget for a total of $464,142, but those positions were not included in the budget adopted by the commission, nor were the six additional requested firefighter positions at a total of $408,000.