Michael Lodise, president of the School Police Association of Philadelphia, summed it up: "My members were smokin' [mad]."
Members of the association who were supposed to have received raises June 30 still haven't gotten one extra penny. The case is scheduled for an arbitration hearing Feb. 6, said the union's attorney, Ralph Teti.
"We're going to argue that the district has an obligation to honor. This was a contract obligation that was approved by the School Reform Commission," said Teti, a partner with Willig Williams & Davidson. "I'm confident that we're going to win."
The district released a statement Wednesday through spokesman Fernando Gallard defending its decision to withhold the salary hikes to the men and women who keep schools safe.
The district "is in serious financial distress. The district requested that school police forgo a scheduled 3 percent across-the-board increase scheduled for June 30, 2012. School police have not agreed to our request," said Gallard, adding that other unions have helped the district.
The district has hired 36 new cops, and saying goodbye to the raises "would assist in funding the salaries and benefits of these new officers," he said.
The statement also said that the district's nonunion workers have taken pay cuts.
The cost of the 25 raises, approved by Schools Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. and Chief Recovery Officer Thomas Knudsen, is $311,351, which could have paid for most or all of the school cops' raises, Lodise said.
The 350 members' raises would have cost the district between $300,000 and $350,000, Lodise said. The raises depend on seniority and whether an officer works 10 or 12 months a year.
For 10-month members, the raises range from $827 to $1,288, according to the union contract, obtained by the Daily News. The hikes are between $992 and $1,545 for 12-month officers, the document says.
The contract was signed by former Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, former SRC Chairman Robert L. Archie Jr., Lodise and other union board members.
The stalled union pay hikes contrast sharply with the raises listed in the district's pay-rate-history report of the 25 central-office staffers who received raises. A handful of employees' job titles didn't change, but they still received pay hikes.
"It's just sending a bad message. It just does," Teti said. "It's frankly offensive. The people at the high end of the salary scale are worth more than the rank and file."
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