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UPDATED: Trenton Police Officers to Pay 20 Percent of Health Care Costs

Contracts for the Trenton Police Department command and patrol officers were ratified at a special meeting Thursday at Trenton City Hall.

After months of negotiations Trenton officials ratified contract agreements that included an increase in health care costs for the during a special meeting Thursday night at Trenton City Hall.

The motion to approve contracts for both command and patrol officers was met by a roll call vote in which nearly all city council members voted in favor of the contract agreements with the exception of Councilperson MaryEllen McLeod.

Councilperson Robert Howey was not present for the vote. He asked a letter he had written be read for the record. The letter stated Howey’s disapproval of the agreement.

“After careful review and consideration of the proposed contract I cannot support the plan as presented,” Howey stated in the letter.

In the agreement Trenton police officers agreed to begin paying for 20 percent of their health care costs in agreement with Public Act 152 approved by Gov. Rick Snyder in September 2011.

Mike Hawkins, Trenton police officer and union president, said the goal for the contract agreement was to keep all of Trenton’s current officers working and to keep the city safe.

“We’re happy to have jobs,” Hawkins said. “We’re happy to be working for the City of Trenton.”

Hawkins said the increase in health care costs was “a big hit” to the department. The standard cost for a family health care plan increased from about $60 per month to about $249 per month.

“That’s a huge jump from where we were at,” Hawkins said. “Not everyone is happy about it, but we understand that that’s the route everyone is going in the public sector.”

Trenton police officers made other concessions in the agreement including giving up five percent of their annual pay, which they have done for the past three years.

According to previous contract agreements, officers have not been allowed the opportunity for an increase in pay since 2009.

“I think we (Trenton Police Department) are the place to work,” Hawkins said. “We are the place to be ... and hopefully we will be hiring to fill some spots that have been vacant for a while.”

The City of Trenton has been on a hiring freeze since May with the exception of a to hire three nonunion positions with the Trenton Police Department.

*A previous version article stated officers have made concessions for the last four years and had not received raises since 2008.

**This article was updated at 2:02 p.m. July 13.

sine-of-the-times July 13, 2012 at 02:38 AM
While settlements are what they are these days, one cannot say enough that these servicemen and women deserve better. Someday, when the economy returns, we need to remember that public sector workers bore the brunt of the financial crisis and give them back what they sacrificed.
Kathye Quirk July 13, 2012 at 01:09 PM
I'm struggling with the math (or wording) in this article. The headline implies a 20% increase. An increase from $60 a month to $249 a month is way more than a 20% increaae.
Nate Stemen (Editor) July 13, 2012 at 03:48 PM
The officers now pay 20 percent of their total health care costs.
Kelly Grignon July 13, 2012 at 05:02 PM
I'm glad they finally came to an agreement and I second everything Wendy said above. Trenton has a reputation for being a safe city to live in and it is BECAUSE of the police presence in this city that we continue to keep that reputation in-tact. We can only hope the department is able to fill the open officer positions so that they may continue to function at full force serve our community to the best of their abilities.
sine-of-the-times July 13, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Also, another reason many legislators and others use to force the public sector into paying 20% is they say the private sector is doing the same...which may or may not be true, but the private sector gets other perks that public sectors do not such as profit sharing...for example, someone I know pays the 20%, but it is made up for with higher pay and profit sharing so that it doesn't feel like they are paying toward their health care costs. Then, then this company turns around and forces the union workers to take the 20% healthcare cut...nice, huh! They call it "shared sacrifice", which I hope we are all feeling that it is not. This is why it is so important to pass the Collective Bargaining Initiative in Nov., so that these men can bargain back their losses when the time comes. Let's not forget them!
Lynn July 13, 2012 at 08:42 PM
My healthcare increased, too..... with a higher copay!

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