- Washington City Paper (January 10, 2017)
Chaos Reigns Within D.C.’s Police Union
Chief negotiator for the unions Ron DeLord and Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez after the Dallas Meet and Confer Team and the City reached a tentative agreement on a new 3-year contract. The bargaining unit covers 5,000 police and fire who are represented by 4 police groups and 3 fire groups. The employees will receive a 25% raise if they still have steps left and 6% if topped out plus increases to certificate pay. The bargaining unit and city ratified the agreement.
Contract negotiations for San Antonio police were difficult and confrontational, but in the end the parties reached a new 5-year contract after 2-1/2 years. I was hired as the chief negotiator for the police association shortly after negotiations started in February 2014. The city had hired three outside management lawyers who came to play hardball. Negotiations went back-and-forth with no progress. SAPOA hired a media & political consultant to get its message out to the public and elected officials. During negotiations the mayor resigned to take a position in the Obama administration. The appointed mayor defeated a sitting state senator for mayor in a hotly contested municipal election. The Chamber of Commerce and various media outlets bombarded the police for not taking the city’s concessionary proposals. The city’s main bone of contention was that officers did not pay a premium for their dependents. The city’s legal team sued after the police and fire contracts went into evergreen contending the 10-year evergreen was unconstitutional, but the police and fire associations won in state district court. The city appealed. The judge ordered mediation between SAPOA and the City. The parties reach a settlement agreement which was taken to a vote of the officers. A new contract was ratified by 72%-29%. The city council ratified the contract shortly thereafter.
The officers did not receive any wage increase but retained premium free dependent health insurance for budgets commencing October 1, 2014 and October 1, 2015. The five-year contract provided for a 3% lump sum bonus effective October 1, 2016; 3% effective October 1, 2017; 3% effective October 1, 2018; 3% effective October 1, 2019; 2% effective October 1, 2020 and 3% effective April 1, 2021. The new health insurance will have the option of a no cost high deductible consumer driven health plan and a city contribution of $1,500 to an officer’s health savings account. Officer may chose a PPO health plan with low cost premiums for dependents. Officers can switch between the plans each year.
Corpus Christi deputy city manager and Corpus Christi POA President Scott Leeton shake hands on a proposed new four year contract. Ron DeLord served as the chief negotiator for the Association.
I was honored to act as the chief negotiator for the Laredo Police Officers Association. After months of negotiations officers voted to ratify a new 4-year contract. The officers will receive a 3% raise October 1, 2016; 4% raise October 1, 2017; 2.5% raise October 1, 2018 and 2.5% raise October 1, 2019. LPD officers have one the best retiree health plans in the state. The city provides all officers health insurance at no costs while the officers are active and into retirement, including medicare supplement. Officers pay 50% of the costs for their dependents. Officers who work 20 years at LPD can purchase dependent health insurance and receive a subsidy from the Police Retiree Dependent Fund that on average covers 70% or more of the costs. The PRDF is funded by officers paying $25 per pay period during their careers. In the new contract officers will increase their contributions to the PRDF to $37.00 per pay period and add fifty cents each additional year. The bargaining unit covers about 480 officers.
The Cedar Park Professional Firefighters Association voted 39-9 to ratify a new one-year memorandum of understanding with the City of Cedar Park. The agreement provides for a 1.75% across-the-board increase. Firefighters will also get step increases. The one-year extension came about because the City refused to agree to any of the Association’s substantive proposals. As such the Association refused to agree to any City proposals. The parties will resume negotiations on a new contract in March 2016.