Nashville police officers today will pick one of two perpetual competitors to represent them, reports The Tennessean. Whether the winner can deliver on all of its proposals may be another matter. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is attempting to take over the Fraternal Order of Police’s job as the department’s bargaining agent for the second time in as many years. The Teamsters have said they will fight for a pension increase to 75 percent of salary for life, though its pledges recently have been less strident. Retiring officers now get 2 percent of their salary multiplied by years of service; a 30-year veteran would get almost 59 percent of salary for life.
City finance officials say a more generous package would not be possible without a “substantial additional tax revenue” of about $20 million a year. The city’s pension fund must be “actuarially sound,” meaning that it must always have enough money in it to provide the pensions that would be due at that moment. The two unions differ greatly in their philosophies. Officers supporting the FOP see it as a family; Teamster supporters say they’re seeking a tougher voice. The FOP represents about 2,500 police departments nationwide, and most officials work in the departments they represent. The FOP’s familial atmosphere is important to Tim Weaver, president of the local FOP chapter. “It’s officers supporting officers,” Weaver said.