Taylor to Unions: No Deal by July 31, No Pay Raises for Officers

She won, they lost, and now Mayor Taylor is telling the San Antonio Police Officers Association that elections have consequences.

In a strongly worded letter to SAPOA President Mike Helle, Taylor outlines what she called her ‘expectations’ for the resumption of contract talks between the union and the city.

“The police labor union must return tot he bargaining table as soon as possible,” the Mayor said.

And this time she sets out a deadline.

“We want to finalize the contract b y July 31, 2015,” she says.  “If there is no agreement by this date, it will not be possible to offer a pay increase to officers.”

The Mayor also says she is tired of negotiating with the SAPOA over ‘numbers.’  The police and fire unions have long disagreed with the city’s claims that the total cost of police and fire services are in danger of going over the 66% mark, which city council has set as the maximum amount of the city’s general fund budget that can be taken up by public safety costs.  The San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association has claimed that the total cost of public safety is closer to 37%.

“The City’s numbers and assumptions have been independently verified, we will not spend any more time debating them.”

The mayor also met personally with Helle.

The mayor’s communications did not mention the SAPFFA, which has not even agreed to bargain with the city.

The City wants the unions to accept contract agreements that require the officers and firefighters to pay a portion of their health insurance costs.  The members now get a ‘zero premium’ health plan.

The Mayor also did not mention dropping a lawsuit against the associations over the ‘Evergreen clause.’  A clause in the 2011 agreement, which expired last fall, calls for the terms of the agreement to remain in place for ten years if there is no further bargaining.  That has led the unions to claim that negotiations are not necessary.

The SAPOA and the SAPFFA both strongly backed losing mayoral candidate Leticia Van de Putte in last weekend’s runoff election.  In fact, the SAPFFA’s incessant negative advertising aimed at Taylor is believed to have backfired, prompting some voters who supported Van de Putte in the general election to instead back Taylor in the runoff.