Arbitrator: Chicago owes cops $1M for summit OT
By Fran Spielman Sun-Times Media September 25, 2013 10:15PM
Mike Shields, President of The Fraternal Order of Police talks about the appointment of Garry McCarthy to be the new Chicago Police Superintendent, Garry McCarthy. Monday, May 2, 2011 | Brian Jackson~Chicago Sun-Times
Updated: October 28, 2013 7:24AM
Chicago must pay $1 million in disputed overtime to 3,100 police officers who protected the city during last year’s NATO Summit, an independent arbitrator has ruled.
Arbitrator Steven Bierig handed Fraternal Order of Police president Mike Shields a victory when he needed it most. Shields has jeopardized through a paperwork mistake an automatic, retroactive pay raise for police officers.
At issue is one of four class-action grievances filed by the FOP related to the May 2012 NATO session and stemming from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision not to pay officers time-and-a-half overtime pay.
The police contract “unambiguously provides that an officer who works six or seven consecutive days in a work week shall be paid overtime for work performed on the sixth and seventh days,” Bierig ruled this week. “The city violated the contract by failing to pay overtime to officers who worked a sixth or seventh day” during the week of May 20, 2012.
The Chicago Police Lieutenants’ Association contract has language that mirrors the FOP contract on time-and-a-half compensation. In March, an arbitrator ruled against the city in the lieutenants’ quest for OT pay during the NATO meeting.
The city argued that if an officer was paid overtime to work on a regular day off that was canceled, paying that same officer time-and-a-half for working a sixth and seventh work day would be “pyramiding or payment of double overtime.”
City attorneys also said that policy has been followed for other special events, including Taste of Chicago and the Chicago Marathon.
Bierig ruled that the police contract “does not provide an exception for payment of sixth and seventh day overtime in weeks when officers are paid overtime for canceled regular days off.”
During the NATO Summit, police Supt. Garry McCarthy canceled days off and ordered all 3,100 officers to work 12-hour shifts during the meeting of world leaders and to still provide an increase in neighborhood police protection.
The NATO overtime dispute will likely exacerbate tensions between the city and the FOP more than a year after the union’s contract with the city expired. Shields said the OT issue should have been resolved before arbitration.
“I personally requested on several occasions that the superintendent grant this grievance,” Shields said of McCarthy. “Police officers who were out there doing the hard work were upset that they did not get their overtime pay.”