The Times-Tribune

Jessup police have union, contract

Rep says pact elevates what had been one of county’s lowest-paid forces

- BY FRANK WILKES LESNEFSKY STAFF WRITER

Jessup police have a union.

The borough’s Police Department joined Teamsters Local Union No. 229 following a council vote last week. Now, officers have a four-year contract that guarantees 3% annual raises and protects their health care, pensions and personal time, said Craig Pawlik, the secretary-treasurer and business agent for Local 229.

The department was thrilled when council approved the labor contract with the union, said Officer Robert Bastek Jr., one of the department’s two union representa­tives. Officers were looking for union protection and higher wages, he said.

Jessup has two full-time officers and, technicall­y, seven part-time officers, but only five part-timers who regularly work in the borough, he said. The borough had one of the lowest-paid department­s in the county, Bastek said. Officers there made $3 to $4 per hour less than neighborin­g department­s, Pawlik said.

Before the contract, parttime officers made $17.61 an hour, full-time officers made about $19 and the sergeant made $20.63, Bastek said. Under the new contract, parttime officers earn $21 an hour, full-time officers earn $25 and the sergeant earns $27.

The new salaries will make Jessup more competitiv­e, Bastek said.

“Why would you turn down $5 more an hour?” he said.

The new contract also gives officers better pay for appearing in court, protects them from being laid off and guarantees part-time officers 32 hours each week, he said. It also guarantees that a future administra­tion can’t remove what officers already have, Pawlik said.

“If it’s not in the CBA, it’s not binding,” he said.

The union represents about 30 collective bargaining agreements, including Olyphant’s Police Department, and public works department­s in Dickson City, Jessup, Jefferson Twp. and Throop. After seeing the union negotiate wages for the borough’s DPW workers last year, the police officers reached out to Local 229, Pawlik said.

“They felt their best opportunit­y to get that was to have us advocate on their behalf,” he said.

Although council voted to enter into the labor contract with the union Nov. 4, the agreement was backdated to Oct. 1 due to scheduling conflicts, Pawlik said.

Council President Gerald

Crinella said he didn’t have strong feelings regarding the union.

“It is something that they wanted, it is a trend, and other towns have done it,” he said. “My understand­ing is it’s what the police wanted to pursue.”

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