PORT ARTHUR – 12News has learned that a pay dispute between the City of Port Arthur and its police department has resulted in officers working without a new contract and a temporary restraining order against the city.
A spokesperson for the Port Arthur Police Association released the following statement Monday.
The Port Arthur Police Association has been in negotiations with the City of Port Arthur regarding a collective bargaining agreement for a new contract beginning October 1, 2015. Despite numerous meetings, the Association and the City have been unable to reach an agreement with regard to a new collective bargaining agreement.
It is the position of the Association that the parties are in a one year evergreen period while negotiations continue. In other words, it is the Association’s position that the same terms and conditions in the 10/1/14 to 9/30/15 collective bargaining agreement are in effect and are extended one year while the parties continue to negotiate. This language has been in collective bargaining agreements between the parties for the last twenty years.
The Association believes it is the position of the City of Port Arthur that the parties are not in an evergreen period and that effective 10/1/15, there is no collective bargaining agreement in place between the parties. The dispute between the parties comes down to whether a typographical error was made in the evergreen clause in the 10/1/14 to 9/30/15 agreement.
The Association President, the acting City Manager of Port Arthur at the time, and the Chief Negotiator for the City of Port Arthur during the contract talks all agree that there was a typographical error with regard to a date and the intent was for the 10/1/14 to 9/30/15 collective bargaining agreement to contain a one year evergreen clause. But for the error with regard to a date, the evergreen clause would extend the terms and conditions of the 10/1/14 to 9/30/15 contract until a new contract supersedes it or 9/30/16, whichever is later.
Based on the position of the City of Port Arthur, the Association filed an application for a Temporary Restraining Order which was granted October 22,2015. The Temporary Restraining Order requires the parties to maintain the status quo as if the evergreen clause is in effect along with all the terms and conditions of the 10/1/14 to 9/30/15 collective bargaining agreement.
The Association is hopeful to reach a resolution of this matter in the near future and finalize a new collective bargaining agreement.