California State University police union reaches preliminary agreement

Natasha Dodson

The Statewide University Police Association is in negotiations with the California State University for a new collective bargaining agreement for 2014-15.

The union, which represents all police officers across the CSU, negotiates a new contract each fiscal year with the goal of better salaries and working environments for its officers.

CSU Director of Public Affairs Mike Uhlenkamp said a tentative agreement was discussed in January and the Board of Trustees agreed to ratify a resolution that includes a 4.6 percent salary increase.

“In the 12-13 (fiscal) year there were no changes,” Uhlenkamp said. “There was an existing agreement that both parties revisited (for 2014-15 year) and it went into effect as of Jan. 1, 2014.”

Jeff Solomon, Sacramento State corporal officer and president of SUPA, said the union lost a portion of its officers to other agencies in 2005 and 2006 because of the pay.

“We got a small raise, which we are happy with,” Solomon said.

With starting pay already 20 percent lower than other agencies, Solomon is concerned about retention with no salary increases.

“(SUPA) has no step increases,” Solomon said. “We’re the only law enforcement in the state whose pay stays the same.”

Police Chief Mark Iwasa said he agreed there is no retention and explained how the union is looking into settled salary agreements. Although there have been officers who left the CSU system for higher paying jobs, none of them were from the Sac State campus.

With safety a priority, Solomon said when the union loses officers, it has to hire new people to train and it takes a long time to fill positions with qualified officers.

“It is natural to go where there is higher pay,” Solomon said. ”What we don’t want is leftovers.”

SUPA is looking to make up some ground with modifications to its employed and provide good working conditions

“A new (budget) will be talked about in May,” Iwasa said. “We currently have 70 community service officers funded under the budget and (some) on duty 24 hours a day with a low crime and arrest rate.”

Uhlenkamp said the work SUPA does is important to both students and faculty because of its concern for safety.

Mechanical engineering  major Angelique Alston said she feels safe around campus but has a concern.

“I would like to see more security walking around campus,” Alston said.“We need more lights at night as well.”

Alston said the her concern of less officers on duty is because she hardly sees them anyway.

Pre-nursing major Arielle Pascua expressed concern about the possibility of having less security on campus.

“Having police presence is important because everyone would feel safer with more enforcement and people would be on campus more,” Pascua said. “(Lack of campus security) would affect the response time if something were to happen.”