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Miami-Dade mayor lands contract deal with top labor foe

@doug_hanks

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez looks ready to put one of the most nettlesome labor disputes behind him as the police union agrees to the terms for a new contract.

The local Police Benevolent Association represents two of the five bargaining units that balked at new three-year contracts in 2014, leaving about half of the county's 25,000 unionized employees without deals.

Not only does the PBA represent the largest chunk of the hold-outs -- with about 5,000 members -- but its leader, John Rivera, is a top Gimenez foe and an ally of the mayor's primary challenger in 2016, school board member Raquel Regalado.

The deal announced this week restores the pay and benefit concessions the PBA gave up in 2011 during Gimenez's first labor negotiations as mayor. The union also gets the same 4 percent cost-of-living raise that the five unions with contracts are receiving based on a formula tied to rising property values. The PBA also agreed to join the county's new health insurance plan, which the union had resisted.
"His insurance was important to him," Rivera said Thursday, "and the four percent was important to us."

In a statement, Gimenez noted the deal still needs ratification from PBA members and county commissioners but called it "a positive development for Miami-Dade County."

The PBA deal comes amid word that the administration is close to announcing a contract deal with the Fire union. That would leave the county's Transit and Water and Sewer unions without contracts.

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