A labor arbitration panel last week rewarded stonewalling tactics by the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association with a 25.4 percent raise over six years — roughly double the increase received by 30 other city unions, including Boston’s teachers. It’s a shocking move that will add $83 million over six years to the city’s budget — tens of millions more than would be necessary to give hard-working police officers pay hikes comparable to those of private-sector workers. The sting will be even greater for the city’s taxpayers, who can expect additional public-safety unions to use the arbitration process to achieve parity with the patrolmen. In the warped structure of the arbitration process, even the most unjustified raises to one union become baselines for other unions seeking hikes. Indeed, the big award to the patrolmen’s union was based in part on an argument that, by certain measures, the firefighters’ union was earning more.
It’s time to stop this costly merry-go-round.