Three years ago, negotiations between the City of Sioux Falls and the Police Labor Council were a little tense. The economy was reeling and the two entities differed on proper compensation. Today the city continues on its upward track and agreements reached with relative ease.

According to a news release, the City of Sioux Falls announced agreements with all three respective labor unions including: the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Local 519; Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), Lodge #1; and the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), Local 814. Approximately 75 percent of City employees are covered by a labor contract.

Each respective employee union group has ratified the three-year agreements for 2014, 2015, and 2016, and they will be submitted to the City Council for approval.

Each labor agreement includes a 3 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) to salary grades in each year of the contract. In the IAFF contract in the rank of Fire Apparatus Operator, COLA will be 2.59 percent in 2014, 2 percent in 2015, and 3 percent in 2016 to address salary grade compression issues between ranks. COLAs are increases applied to the minimum and maximum of the pay range to ensure pay scales remain competitive in the marketplace and keep up with inflation.