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Orland Park and Police Union Could Be Headed for Arbitration

Police union president and village officials hope contract negotiations can progress after months of stalling without the legal tangles of arbitration, but that depends on agreeing on a contract soon.

The clock is ticking for the and Metropolitan Alliance of Police Chapter 159 to come to a contract agreement before sitting down with lawyers.

The local MAP chapter, representing Orland Park’s sworn police officers, is looking for a contract similar to the one they worked with for about the last five years. That contract technically expired in May 2011, though without a new contract, the officers are still working under those terms.

The village wants all employees to pay a greater percentage of their health care benefits costs or, as described it, have “more skin in the game.” The two sides have not reached an agreed-upon contract almost a year later since negotiations first began.

MAP Chapter 159 President and officer Ron Ahrendt requested Monday night that the Orland Park Village Board direct Grimes to resume “meaningful negotiations prior to our scheduled arbitration date.” The scheduled start for arbitration is Feb. 29.

Ahrendt also requested that the board direct Grimes to “use comparable contract language from our surrounding communities – not from the east coast.”

He also said the requested “200 to 500 percent cost increases for benefits don’t seem fair to my membership.”

While he didn’t specify, Ahrendt said proposals had been made by MAP 159 could lessen overtime costs.

Ahrendt said union negotiations have been in a halt since Sept. 29, aside from a Dec. 5 discussion where the arbitration start date was chosen.

“No one has more skin in the game than the Orland Park police officers,” Ahrendt said. “We potentially face death every day to preserve public safety.”

Grimes said after the meeting that a mediator was brought in to the contract negotiations without any prior notice given to the village, at the third formal negotiating session held between MAP 159 and the village in June.

”The first session they brought their proposal,” Grimes said. “The second session we brought our proposal, and at the third they brought in a mediator.”

Grimes said the proposals for health care coverage costs is similar to all other village employees.

“We want our employees to have more skin in the game regarding health care,” Grimes said. “That’s the same position we have for everyone. We want to get back to the bargaining table. We think we can get to an agreement. We’re getting to agreements with our other bargaining units.”

Mayor Dan McLaughlin said after Ahrendt spoke that he didn’t think a village board meeting was an appropriate place for negotiations, but also said he believes an agreement can be met between the union and village.

“I am confident you two will continue to bargain in good faith, both sides,” McLaughlin said. “I think progress will be made soon.”

Ahrendt said that his goal in speaking was not to negotiate publically, but to call the board’s attention to the lack of negotiating happening.

“I’m an eternal optimist,” Ahrendt said after the meeting. “I’m hoping we can get together and somehow work it out. I don’t think anything we’re asking is out of the ordinary. It’s similar to the last four-year contract.”

Andrea Williams February 09, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Paul Grimes: "more skin in the game." Translation: "gotta find some way to pay for that saltwater pool." More great fiscal management decisions by our Village leadership. Pilfer the police to pay for the McLaughlin Triangle and the Nifty Fifty apartments.
Megan James February 09, 2012 at 03:07 PM
My guess is that they need to start saving the money so they can hire the 30+ police officers and firefighters that will be needed once the 9750 is fully leased out, not to mention the increased security that will be needed once Dave & Busters open.
Megan James February 09, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Curious - does the Village pay for health care benefits for Mr. Grimmes and all the Village board members making these decisions? If so, have they all been required to pay 200 to 500 percent cost increases for their benefits too! Doesn't seem right to ask others to make the same sacrafices if Grimmes and the trustees haven't implemented the same rules for themselves first.
Andrea Williams February 09, 2012 at 07:48 PM
The tax revenue generated by those two projects shoud pay for any incremental public safety services the village will need to provide to support them.
Ben Feldheim February 10, 2012 at 10:58 AM
Quick point on that, the trustees do not get covered benefits, nor do any other part-timers with the village. They could buy into plans offered by the village, but they'd be paying for it out of pocket.

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