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Chicago police say new financial bonuses have been agreed upon

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(The Center Square) – Leaders of the union representing Chicago police say they have reached a tentative agreement with the city over a retention bonus and termination benefits.

State law says, unlike teachers, first responders cannot strike and instead must go to binding arbitration to discuss things they seek to gain through collective bargaining.

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 President John Catanzara said a deal is in place for a bonus for officers who have been on the force for 20-plus years and sets up negotiations for recently terminated officers.

“The reality is this, we will be getting some form of a retention bonus, even the city’s proposal calls for it,” Catanzara said on a YouTube video Friday. “The arbitration for termination cases is also in the city’s proposal.”

In a June Chicago Police Magazine president’s letter, Catanzara explained why he sought the termination clause.

“When an officer is facing termination, we want the ability to pick arbitration or bring it to the police board. Let the officer decide. If it’s not police board, then arbitration,” Catanzara wrote, “Whoever agreed to it always being the police board, it was a bad idea to give up arbitration. I guess maybe it was because the police board wasn’t as much of a hit piece as it is now.”

State Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, told The Center Square that retention benefits are needed to keep competent police officers in the city.

“We should retain those [officers] that have proven to be gentlemen and women of good character on our police force,” Ford said. “I support those types of bonuses and retention for police.”

Ford does hear criticism against the idea of a retention bonus.

“Some of the things I hear is that the police budgets are already exceeding social service budgets in certain areas. I have heard people saying things like ‘we need reforms before we spend new money,'” Ford said.

A city council decision on the deal is expected in the weeks ahead.

Leaders of the union representing Chicago police are also urging Mayor Brandon Johnson for parental leave and have said they will pursue legal action if the policy is not granted as it recently was for the city’s teachers.

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