Collinsville Police are the first among the city's employees to agree to adding the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday to the city calendar.
In years past, the city of Collinsville has come under criticism because it did not close for Martin Luther King Day, a federal holiday recognized by many other municipalities in the metro-east. City leaders had said that they could not just add a holiday to the calendar due to union contracts -- in 2013, it was estimated at a cost of $45,000 to pay employees for the day, including $15,000 in overtime costs to essential workers such as police and firefighters.
On Monday, the city council approved a new contract with the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 103, representing 43 police officers, that includes a 2 percent raise for the first two years and a 1.5 percent raise on the third year. The old contract expired in December 2013.
City Manager Scott Williams said union leaders agreed to reduce the third raise to 1.5 percent in compensation for recognizing Martin Luther King Day as a new holiday.
"After many years of discussions with our unions, the FOP is the first in 20 years to recognize the Martin Luther King holiday," Williams said. "We're hopeful the other unions will follow suit."
While Williams could not recall the exact numbers, he said the vote tally among the officers was "strongly committed."
Since 2013, Collinsville has closed its city hall to the public on the holiday, but workers were at their desks or took a vacation day because it wasn't an official paid holiday. At the time, Williams said that he would raise the issue during each union's contract negotiation.
Most of the city's other unions will begin negotiating soon, with contracts expiring through 2015, Williams said.
Therefore, not all the unions will have new contracts by the time the next Martin Luther King Day rolls around in January. Williams said he was not sure what the city's plans would be at that point.