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S.L. POLICE UNION BACKS COMPROMISE ON CONTRACT

Salt Lake police union members are urging their negotiator to go after a proposal that is a compromise between a previous police plan and the city's contract offer.

The bad news is the city won't formally see the compromise until negotiations reopen.The 53 officers at an emergency Salt Lake City Police Association meeting Wednesday afternoon overwhelmingly endorsed the compromise proposal that would increase their benefits and fatten their paychecks, union President Dave Greer said.

The members "flat out rejected" the city's offer of a 2.5 percent merit increase and a plan to contribute to the officers' retirement fund.

Retirement fund contributions by employers are required under state law, Greer said.

"The state did not pass the law for it to be a benefit to employees, although that is one of the results of it," said the union president, who maintains the law was passed to keep the retirement fund strong and prevent great dips in the fund when employees leave the program.

The union's first offer of restructuring the pay scale, which would be a 6 percent increase, also was rejected for the compromise offer.

"We have come up with a plan that combines both of those," said Greer.

"To the average officer (the proposal) means about $80 a month in his pocket in terms of salary increase and anywhere from $75 to $100 after January and that's when (the state) picks up the premium" for retirement," said Greer.

Greer said the compromise offer at least has a shot at being acceptable to both sides.

"If their ego gets in the way of their good negotiating sense, then it won't change," he said, adding, "If it doesn't (go through), then it won't be because we didn't try. I think we've done everything we can do."