Chicago City Council Approves New Police Contract

September 16, 2021

The Chicago City Council approved a new collective bargaining agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) on September 14, 2021. The FOP is the union representing the approximately 11,000 police officers for the City of Chicago, who make up the majority of approximately 13,000 Chicago Police Department employees. The new contract replaces the most recent collective bargaining agreement for police officers that expired on June 30, 2017. Contracts for the approximately 1,500 police supervisors (sergeants, lieutenants and captains) that expired on July 1, 2016 were approved last year.

The agreement is an eight-year contract that runs from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2025 with a total 20% base salary increase over the term of the agreement. Just over half of that total pay increase, or 10.5%, is retroactive through 2021, and the remaining 9.5% of salary increases will occur over the next four years. The average annual increase is 2.5%. The following are the annual base salary increases:

  • July 1, 2017 – 1.0%
  • January 1, 2018 – 2.25%
  • January 1, 2019 – 2.25%
  • January 1, 2020 – 2.5%
  • January 1, 2021 – 2.5%
  • January 1, 2022 – 2.5%
  • January 1, 2023 – 2.5%
  • January 1, 2024 – 2.5%
  • January 1, 2025 – 2.0%

The City of Chicago estimates the agreement will cost $600 million over the entire eight-year term, with $377.6 million of that retroactive from 2017 through 2021. The City budgeted $103 million for this purpose in its FY2021 budget, but an additional $274.3 million will be needed to cover the retroactive payments. The City plans to cover $232 million of this amount through proceeds from a planned debt refinancing for lower interest costs. The remaining $42.3 million will come from operating funds.

The City said the police officers’ contract reflects the same economic provisions (plus 0.5%) in collective bargaining agreements with the Firefighters Local 2 union and the Policemen's Benevolent & Protective Association (PBPA) contracts that cover police sergeants, lieutenants and captains. The PBPA contracts for police supervisors were approved in July 2020 for the term of July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2022. The base salary increases in the FOP contract are 0.5% higher than the police supervisors’ contracts in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Other economic provisions of the collective bargaining agreement include the following:

  • Duty Availability Allowance: Increases the quarterly duty availability allowance payments from $900 per quarter to $950 per quarter, retroactive to January 1, 2017. The same duty availability allowance was approved in the PBPA police supervisors’ contracts. The agreement also reduces the amount of time within which an officer can become eligible for duty availability pay to 18 months of service from 42 months. This is intended to incentivize officers to stay on the force and reduce the pay disparity between long-time officers and new officers, according to the City’s labor negotiators who presented the agreement to the City Council’s Workforce Development Committee on September 7, 2021.
  • Uniform Allowance: Increases the annual uniform allowance to $1,950 from $1,800. The same uniform allowance was approved in the PBPA police supervisors’ contracts.
  • Healthcare Contributions: Increases employee healthcare contributions by 1.5%, which will be phased in through two increases—the first 0.75% increase will take effect January 1, 2022 and an additional 0.75% increase will go into effect on January 1, 2024. Effective January 1, 2022, employees will contribute 2.0421% of their pay (for a single person), an increase from 1.2921% in the prior contract. As part of a compromise with the FOP, the City agreed to stagger the effective dates, as well as to allow the FOP to potentially avoid the second 0.75% increase if the union can show significant healthcare savings to the City through the Police Department’s health fairs. 
  • Health Fair Budget: Increases the budget for health fairs to $300,000 from $75,000 per year. The purpose of increasing health fair funding is to try to generate healthcare savings through enhanced healthcare screenings for officers.
  • Mental Health Ombudsman: Creates a new full-time position for a mental health ombudsman to serve as a union representative to facilitate mental health needs of officers. The officer in this position would be granted leave from their duties to fulfill the position while being paid full salary and benefits.
  • Retiree Health Insurance Contributions: Effective July 1, 2022, increases the retiree health insurance contribution to 3.5% of their annuity for retirees over age 55 and 1.5% for those over 60.

In addition to the economic portions of the contract, the agreement also contains several police accountability provisions. The accountability measures include the following:

  • Ends the ban on anonymous complaints;
  • No longer requires that complaints against officers include a sworn affidavit, and allows for the submission of anonymous complaints in which the complainant does not have to disclose their identity;
  • In the case of anonymous complaints, creates a certification process (“override”) to allow for the investigation of an anonymous complaint;
  • Ends the requirement to destroy disciplinary records after 5 years;
  • Allows for broader use of disciplinary records in police misconduct cases. Allows not-sustained findings of excessive force, criminal conduct or verbal abuse to be used for up to seven years in future disciplinary proceedings to determine credibility and notice;
  • No longer allows officers to change statements after viewing video during disciplinary investigations and clarifies that all statements, including original statements and subsequent or amended statements, will be used in making determinations about whether an officer willfully made a false statement about an incident under investigation;
  • Allows officers can be recognized for reporting misconduct;
  • Allows a second interrogator to interview an officer, provided the second interrogator is present for the entire interrogation;
  • Permits investigators to note on the record when officers consult with counsel in order to obtain a complete and accurate record of the interrogation; and
  • Investigatory agencies now must advise every individual to be truthful in the course of the investigation by stating officers must respond honestly and completely. This was previously an expectation but not explicitly written in the collective bargaining agreement.

The accountability measures approved in this contract address several of the recommendations related to the collective bargaining agreement issued by the Police Accountability Task Force in 2016. However, some recommendations remain outstanding. Members of the City Council who opposed passage of the collective bargaining agreement called for additional accountability measures such as requiring officers to disclose secondary employment and capping the number of hours of secondary employment, as well as requiring officers to provide a statement within 24 hours of a shooting. The City and the FOP are continuing to negotiate over additional accountability and operational proposals that were not part of this approved contract. If agreement on the outstanding items cannot be reached, they will be resolved through interest arbitration.