Negotiations have been in progress since December, but details of a new agreement were made public for the first time on April 13. Both the union that represents Phoenix police officers, the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, and city staff have agreed on the terms of the proposal but it needs final approval from the City Council on May 3.
A public comment session on the new agreement was held on Wednesday, though it's uncommon for revisions to be made to any contract after both the union and city staff have come to an agreement
Once approved, Phoenix officers will see their base wage increase by 2.16 percent when the contract takes effect in July. They will also get a one-time payout equal to 5 percent of their annual salary. Furthermore, officers will receive additional pay for night shifts and days when they are scheduled to be on call.
The city said that overall, the raises represent a 4.5 percent increase in employee compensation over the term of the contract.
Other unions whose contracts will be renewed this year — the Laborers' International Union of North America; two different unions represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; and the International Association of Firefighters — will receive the same percentage increase.
Doubling Down on Cop Salaries
This is the second time within the last year that Phoenix police officers would receive major pay raises. In June 2022, the city approved $20 million in wages for Phoenix officers, which increased salaries by at least $16,000 annually and, in some cases, by far more.
Unlike in prior years, which often saw two- or three-year contracts, this new contract lasts for one year. Dan Wilson, the city's communications director, said that "a one-year agreement provides more flexibility for the city and was deemed to be the best length during this negotiations cycle."
Some other changes were also included in the contract, though there were no major policy revisions. This is a departure from 2021, when the contract included significant changes to discipline and accountability.
The only significant change to disciplinary policy in the 2023 contract is stronger language about the information the city must provide to officers who are facing a misconduct investigation. The prior contract stated that upon request, the city was required to disclose complaints and other materials in a misconduct investigation to the officer being investigated. Now, the union contract states that the city must proactively inform officers in writing of this information.
However, state law already requires that agencies provide these materials to officers under investigation as part of Arizona's "Officer's Bill of Rights."
Trista Guzman Glover, a spokesperson for the police union, declined to comment on the draft contract, saying that the union will release a statement after the May 3 vote.
Secret Negotiation Process Sparks Protest
City code requires that the police union publicly release a draft version of proposals as they are created. This year, unlike prior years, the union followed suit with the other four unions and simply informed the city it was preparing to begin negotiations.
This meant that the public was not allowed to comment on the police union's proposals nor review any version of the contract until both sides had come to an agreement. When the Goldwater Institute, a conservative think tank, requested records of the draft contract, the city refused to release them.
Both the Goldwater Institute and local advocacy group Poder in Action sued the city over the secret negotiations. Although the Goldwater suit is still ongoing, a judge dismissed Poder in Action's suit on April 4 after agreeing that PLEA violated city code but saying it was too late to intervene in the negotiations.