Jan 9, 2008

Police officers fight to keep 12-hour shift schedule

Police officers in Brookfield, Illinois, USA are fighting to keep the 12-hour shifts they have worked under since 2004. Prior to that time they worked an 8-hour shift schedule. Changing from 8-hour shifts to 12-hour shifts has been in vogue over the past decade or so. Initially many shiftworkers and unions opposed such a move but many have come to embrace it -- much to the surprise of many people not familiar with the shiftwork world.

Why? With a 12-hour shift schedule you get a lot more days off. And there can be many other advantages as well. In this case, police officers have refused to sign off on a new contract, which would increase their pay, until they get the shift length issue resolved. Foregoing increased pay ... I'd say they feel strongly about it. The police department is wanting to revert to an 8-hour shift schedule because the 12-hour shifts incur greater overtime charges. With appropriate training and proper implementation alertness and performance on 12-hour shifts can be maintained at safe levels without additional health risks.

I hope the dispute will be worked out soon, for everyone's sake. If all parties are flexible, there are ways to maintain cost neutrality when switching between 8-h0ur shifts and 12-hour shifts.

You'll find more details in "Cop contract will go to arbitration: Brookfield officers want to keep12-hour shift schedule" which appeared in the January 9, 2008 edition of the Riverside/Brookfield Landmark.

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