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Mayor Wu says talks continue over Boston police's contract, despite earlier reports of impasse

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu on WBUR's Radio Boston (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu on WBUR's Radio Boston (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

As Boston and its police department's largest union continue contract negotiations, Mayor Michelle Wu said her office remains determined to include certain reforms in the new terms.

"Our firm position is that we will not sign a contract that does not include reform," Wu said during an hourlong appearance on WBUR's Radio Boston Monday. "That is the charge that I was given by the residents across the city."

Negotiations between the city and the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association began last June, and last month, union leader Larry Calderone, told the Boston Globe that the parties had reached an impasse in mid-September over several initiatives proposed by the city. The union did not return a request for comment in time for publication. The police department has been without a contract since 2020.

Wu said on Monday that she's focused on integrating police reforms related to overtime, discipline and accountability, health and wellness. Regarding overtime, Wu said she wants a policy that reduces the number of overtime hours officers can work while adding more manpower during overtime shifts.

"To have folks regularly have to, especially in the summer when there are more events, give up all of their time with their family on the weekends and in the nice weather ... it certainly takes a toll," said Wu.

Wu didn't provide specific examples on the other proposals, but during her mayoral campaign, she released a 11-step plan that listed policy changes like tying certain violations to specific disciplinary actions, and using disciplinary histories in promotional decisions.

She said her goal is to create more transparency between departments, their officers and residents.

Wu said Monday she did not know if talks appeared headed for arbitration and that she held hopes for a resolution.

"I continue to believe and see that there is really important common ground here," she said, "around how to ensure that this is a more sustainable, healthier, more supported job for officers who are putting in so much, and for their families."

During her interview, Wu also signaled that she would sign a resolution passed by the Boston City Council last week that would establish a five-member committee to study reparations for Black Bostonians.

The mayor announced her first "State of the City" address would take place on Jan. 25 at the MGM Music Hall at Fenway in Boston.

Click the audio player atop this post to hear the full interview with Wu, which includes proposals the mayor weighing to create more affordable housing; city efforts to manage rising hospitalizations due to COVID-19, RSV and flu cases; and Boston's winter weather preparations. 

This article was originally published on December 19, 2022.

This program aired on December 19, 2022.


Amanda Beland Twitter Producer/Director
Amanda Beland is a producer and director for Radio Boston. She also reports for the WBUR newsroom.


Tiziana Dearing Twitter Host, Radio Boston
Tiziana Dearing is the host of Radio Boston.



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