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Union president to cops: Sorry for errors that may cost you back pay

FOP President Mike Shields. |  Sun-Times files

FOP President Mike Shields. | Sun-Times files

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Updated: October 5, 2013 6:26AM

For the first time, Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields is apologizing to his members for paperwork mistakes that threaten to deny rank-and-file Chicago Police officers a retroactive pay raise.

The Chicago Police contract expired on June 30, 2012. Shields missed an earlier deadline to notify the city he intended to terminate the old contract and negotiate a new one.

So the contract automatically rolled over for another year — and unionized officers won’t automatically receive a retroactive pay raise for the first year after the contract expired.

Shields then missed a second deadline — this time to file an unfair labor practices complaint against the city over the issue. Because of that mistake, the executive director of the Illinois Labor Relations Board recently dismissed the FOP’s complaint.

In the union’s September newsletter, Shields took the blame for failing to meet last year’s deadline, which could cost each unionized cop thousands of dollars in retroactive pay. To get the officers their retroactive pay, the union will likely have to give up something else now.

“As for the letter, in hindsight, I wish I had sent one within the window the city wanted,” he said. “Unfortunately, I cannot rewrite history. As the president of the lodge, the responsibility of submitting the letter lies with me.”

Shields vowed to appeal the dismissal of the FOP’s unfair labor practices complaint.

And against lashed out at Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whom he accused of getting even with Shields for his role in derailing a four-year contract with police sergeants that the mayor hoped to use as a road map to solve the city’s pension crisis.

“The mayor single-handedly is threatening to stick it to 10,000-plus police officers simply because he can,” Shields wrote in the newsletter.

“So far, the mayor will not publicly state what he will do. Another city union had the same letter issue and the mayor did not screw them out of retro pay. For nearly a year and a half, Mayor Emanuel’s advisors have used this issue to try to divide the membership,” Shields said.

Shields said he addressed the FOP board about the issue Tuesday.


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