Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bridgeport, CT - 'No-raise' police pact nears approval

Connecticut Post

BRIDGEPORT -- A police union contract giving officers no raises through June 2010 is almost official after passing the City Council's Contract Committee Tuesday night. The proposed four-year pact, which Bridgeport Police Union Local 1159 members had approved by 15 votes, may save the city $800,000 in the current fiscal year. In the third year of the contract, officers would get a 6 percent raise, followed by a 5 percent boost in the fourth and final year. The contract now goes to the full council for review. "I think this is the best we can do given the national financial crisis," said Officer Frank Cuccaro, union president, who attended the meeting in City Hall. The pact would also prevent the layoffs of nine rookies. Widespread layoffs are one cost-saving measure Mayor Bill Finch implemented since learning of a looming $20 million city budget deficit..

Omaha, NE - No Overtime Pay For Police


"The city of Omaha, already strapped for cash, is under an order from the state to reduce the amount of overtime police officers have banked. The police union says its members want the money and they want it now.

When officers work overtime, they have the choice to be paid for the OT right away or bank it and save it for later or take it as comp time. A recent decision from the Court of Industrial Relations lowered the number of hours officers can save, raising a lot of questions on all sides."

Chicago, IL - Arbitrator Gives River Forest Police Three 4% Raises

Pioneer News

After more than a year of contract talks, independent arbitrator James Fox ruled in favor of the village of River Forest on seven of nine contested points, but awarded the police union a salary increase.

That means River Forest's 28 unionized police officers will receive a four percent raise each year over the life of the three -year contract, retroactive to May 1, 2007.

The village wanted to pay three-and-a-half percent.".

Galveston, TX - Police and Fire Agree To 3% Pay Cut To Avoid Layoffs

The Galveston County Daily News

The Galveston County Daily News: "GALVESTON — Police officers and firefighters overwhelmingly agreed to take a 3 percent pay cut to avoid layoffs, a measure City Manager Steve LeBlanc said would be necessary if the city didn’t cut $3.6 million from its budget.

LeBlanc announced the proposed pay cuts a week before Christmas, saying either the payroll or the number of city staffers would have to be reduced by Jan. 1."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Housing Prices Continue To Decline In October - That's Good News

Click Chart For Large Image

Updated 1/1/2009

The Case Shiller Housing Index for October shows that the plunge continued. Several of the major cities in the West have retreated back to the long-term trend line. The above chart shows how housing prices accelerated and dramatically fell in several major cities in the United States.

The blue bar shows the current index value. A score of 150 means that prices are 50% higher than they were in January 2000. The red extension is the additional amount of growth and subsequent contraction that has occurred prior to and after the peak. Cities below the 150 level are now in a position to support new construction. The ones above may have some reductions before improving. As with most market corrections, there will probably be an overreaction, much like what we are currently seeing with oil prices.

Click on the chart for a larger and better view

Select Cities From Case-Shiller Index


Monday, December 29, 2008

Hutchinson, KS - New recruiting efforts pay off for police department

The Hutchison News

"On a recent Saturday morning, the potential recruits clapped and cheered for each other as they navigated the obstacle course on the upper level of the Salthawk Activity Center."

The would-be officers had to leap over or crawl under obstacles, navigate a slalom, stop for push-ups and sit-ups, and correctly identify a suspect - and do it within 3 minutes and 15 seconds.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

San Bernardinao, CA - CALPERS Contributions to Go Up 2% to 5% More

Contra Costa Times

"SAN BERNARDINO - The economic decline could increase local governments' financial burdens by requiring officials to set aside more money for retirement benefits, but the system gives budget planners two years to prepare for the fallout.

The city of San Bernardino is among the 2,500 governments that are part of the California Public Employees Retirement System, or CalPERS. Like many other entities, CalPERS has felt the economic downturn this year as its investment portfolio has pretty much tanked.

As of the close of the market Friday, CalPERS' investment fund was worth $184.4billion. As big as that number seems, it's about 23percent smaller than its value on June 30: $239.2 billion."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Santa Ana, CA - City freezes hiring to address $15-million shortfall

Orange County Register

"SANTA ANA - City leaders have amputated more than $15 million from the budget and have stopped filling vacant positions – even in the Police Department – as city finances have soured with the economy.

City officials have talked about even deeper cuts – possibly including pay freezes – in a series of closed-door meetings with the unions that represent city workers. Earlier this month, the City Council voted to postpone a round of pay raises for the city manager and other department heads.

The city budget was stretched thin to begin with, but it has only worsened in the past several months."

Louisville, KY - Judge Makes Ruling In LMPD Take-Home Car Controversy


"LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A Jefferson County judge has ruled the city of Louisville will not be able to charge officers more money for their take-home cars.

Click Here: Watch The Story

The ruling comes less than 24 hours after the Fraternal Order of Police and the county attorney's office squared off in court."

Washington, DC - California Senator Barbara Boxer Releases Distressing Report On The California Economony

Press Release of Senator Boxer

Boxer Releases Detailed Report on Realities of Recession in California

Outlines Steps for Economic Recovery

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Los Angeles, CA – At a press conference in Culver CityCalifornia's counties and cities. today, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) released her report detailing the impact of the nation's recession on

The report, which was based on interviews Boxer and her staff had with officials in 20 cities and all 58 counties, paints a stark picture of the economic strains felt across California. The detailed analysis includes unemployment figures, home foreclosure rates, budget deficits, and first-hand accounts of the impact of the recession on social services and non-governmental, charitable organizations.

Senator Boxer said, "I want to thank all 58 counties for participating in this important report, as it has given me the information I need to ensure that California gets back on track.

"This report is a reality check on the economy—things are not good, but change is coming. I am going to focus like a laser beam on saving and creating jobs, which is the backbone of any economy."

Budget deficits and revenue reductions have forced counties and cities to make cuts in many important programs, including public safety programs, Medi-Cal services, mental heath services, meals on wheels, and youth and senior centers. As a result, non-governmental charitable organizations have been stretched to the brink.

In addition, the report finds that critical infrastructure projects are stalled due to financing problems, which limits job growth at a time when unemployment rates are at their highest level in decades.

Boxer listed a number of provisions she is working with Congressional leaders and President-elect Obama to include in federal economic recovery legislation, including:

  • Investment to repair and improve existing infrastructure, including roads, bridges, transit and rail;
  • Increased support for federal programs that support energy efficiency in new buildings and upgrades to existing buildings, which would create jobs;
  • Investment in water infrastructure projects, including reclamation, reuse, and groundwater cleanup programs that could not only provide new water supplies, but create jobs;
  • Increased investment in the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, which awards grants to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies so they can hire and train law enforcement officers, purchase new crime-fighting technologies, and develop innovative policing strategies;
  • Providing additional Community Development Block Grants, which helps states and local governments to implement plans to address local housing needs and neighborhood stabilization as a result of the foreclosure crisis; and
  • Increasing the percentage of funding the federal government provides to states for the Medicaid program, which provides health care services for low-income individuals.

The full report is available on Senator Boxer's website at:


North Las Vegas, NV - Ex-officer challenging firing, union


A former North Las Vegas officer accused of money laundering and lying to the FBI is embroiled in a long-running legal battle with the North Las Vegas police union over whether the union should have represented him when he was fired.

Ricardo Bonvicin, a former chief marshal of the North Las Vegas Municipal Court, believes he's entitled to support from the North Las Vegas police union as well as back pay. So far, he has an ally in the state's employment board, which supported his claims.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Louisville, KY - Judge Grants Injunction In Police Take-Home Car Dispute

WFPL News 89.3 FM

"A Jefferson circuit judge has granted a temporary injunction blocking Metro Government from raising the monthly fees paid by police officers and other workers for their take-home cruisers.

The injunction was requested by the Fraternal Order of Police, which contends the take-home car program is part of the union’s contract with the city and can’t be altered without its

Omaha, NE - Firefighter Contract Handed Down By CIR

Omaha World-Herald

"City financial experts Tuesday began examining details of a new, long-delayed contract for Omaha firefighters to determine the costs and savings it offers.

The 2008 fire contract, developed by a state labor court, was released less than a week after that labor court issued a new contract for police officers.

Firetrucks will keep four-man crews, which some city officials have questioned, saying it's an expensive and unnecessary level of staffing.

Omaha firefighters also will retain their benefits package — a costly measure fought by Mayor Mike Fahey. The mayor advocated placing firefighters on a cheaper health-care plan used by civilian employees."

Zanesville, OH - Police union approves contract with the city

Zanesville Mayor Butch Zwelling

Zanesville Times-Recorder

"ZANESVILLE - Members of the Fraternal Order of Police Zane Lodge 5 unanimously approved a three-year contract with the city Tuesday.

Mark Drum, a staff representative with the Fraternal Order of Police/Ohio Labor Council, said details of the contract can't be released until after it's approved by city council."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Detroit, MI - Are the Unions to Blame?

The American Spectator

"I am not a huge fan of the UAW.

It has been obtuse, even obstreperous. But the idea that the collapse of General Motors and Chrysler Corp. is the fault of the unions is swill of the worst sort. Because not only is it false, if accepted it will simply mean that taxpayers are made to shovel more money down the gullet of companies that won't make the necessary changes to their business model because they haven't been forced to confront the fact that their problems have not been caused by 'the unions' -- the braying mantra they've been falling back on for years now."

Omaha, NE - Aaron Hanson OPU President Questions Mayor's Budget Cuts

KETV 7 Omaha

"OMAHA, Neb. -- Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey announced a series of budget cuts Tuesday totaling more than $6 million, including a delay in a 42-member police recruit class that will save the city $700,000.

Fahey set a goal a month ago for the city department heads to slash their individual budgets in an effort to counteract an expected overall shortfall in 2009."

Atlantic City, NJ - Mayor wants to renegotiate union contracts to help budget


"ATLANTIC CITY - The Langford administration is gearing up for a run at every labor union in the city to open discussions about current contracts, and search for areas to renegotiate.
The news came during an interview with Mayor Lorenzo Langford and his top advisers Monday as they reinforced the potential for severe cuts in the midst of a budget crisis."

"There are no give-backs," said PBA Local 24 President David Davidson. The situation "is scary, but the concept of layoffs is not going to deter us from our situation at all. Theydidn't call us back to the table when they were doing well and offer us more money."

Denver, CO - Hickenlooper Does The Two Step

Two months after raises were approved for Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s cabinet, the mayor is requesting police, fire and sheriff’s deputies to take 2 percent less than their negotiated contracts called for.While some critics have said it doesn’t seem fair, the mayor’s chief of staff, Kelly Brough, said their office didn’t know the extent of the economic downturn until after those cabinet raises were approved.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ron Gettelfinger - A Modern Day Don Quixote

Detroit Free Press

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, who now faces the prospect of renegotiating a new labor contract with Detroit’s automakers, today told Fox Business Network’s “Money for Breakfast” that the union was shut out of discussions for federal assistance between the Bush administration and the automakers — a slight he called “unbelievable” given the sacrifices the union is being pushed to make.

“From our standpoint, it’s very confusing right now, because again, we have not had the opportunity to review the term sheet with the people that crafted it,” Gettelfinger said. “…And I can assure you: We’ve had our attorneys looking at it. We’ve had our research people looking at the term sheet. I personally went through it. There are just a lot of open-ended issues.”

Comment from Ron York - God Bless Ron Gettelfinger.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Omaha, NE - The Details of Omaha Arbitration Award

By AARON HANSON, President
Omaha Police Union

Brothers and sisters:
The Commission of Industrial Relations has issued its ruling in our 2008 wage case.
I have attached the ruling for your review.
The CIR accepted all of our proposed comparable cities but one.
Our final array of cities is St Paul, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Denver, Ft. Worth, Cincinnati and Wichita
Below are some bulleted points of the highlights:
Base Pay
  1. Officer pay minimum increases from $40,185 to $44,116 and maximum pay from $57,360 to $66,040.
  2. Officer pay steps increases from 6 steps over 5 years to 9 steps over 13 years. (Maximum with 13 years)
  3. Sergeant pay minimum increases from $60,132 to $65,957 and maximum pay from $66,809 to $73,798
  4. Sergeant pay steps increases from 3 steps over 1 year to 6 steps over 10 years. (Maximum with max of 10 years)
  5. Lieutenant pay minimum increases from $72,020 to $75,233 and maximum pay from $75,732 to $83,491
  6. Lieutenant pay steps increases from 3 steps over 1 year to 4 steps over 6 years. (Maximum with max of 6 years)
  7. Captain pay minimum increases from $81,244 to $85,134 and maximum pay from $87,797 to $98,384
  8. Captain pay steps increases from 3 steps over 1 year to 4 steps over 8.5 years. (Maximum with max of 8.5 years)
Longevity pay will now commence at 4 years instead of 7 years. (we do not yet have the new longevity numbers)
College incentive pay:
Incentive pay for an Associates degree will increase from $0 to $608
Incentive pay for an Bachelors degree will increase from $864 to $1410
Incentive pay for an Masters degree will increase from $1004 to $1545
Tuition reimbursement:
The City will now have to pay tuition reimbursement.
Call in and court pay:
Increases from minimum 4 hours of straight time to minimum of 4 hours at time and a half (overtime)
On Call pay:
People on call will now receive on call pay
Comp Bank:
Comp bank max reduced from 360 hrs to 108 hrs.
Retiree Health care:
No change
No change
Healthcare premium:
Single - 10% premium
Family - 15% premium
Single +1 - 14% premium
Specialty pay:
Specialty pay retained by most, however some members will lose it.
Annual leave:
Officer with less than 15 years will lose some annual leave accrual, officers with over 15 years will gain annual leave accrual. Officers will still be able to carry over 320 hrs from year to year.
Shift differential:
Officers will keep shift differential
We will continue to be paid the same way for holidays, however our number of holidays reduced from 13 to 11.
Sick leave:
Sick leave accrual reduces from 143 hrs annually to 108 hrs annually.
Sick leave and annual leave pay out upon retirement:
remains unchanged
Uniform allowance:
The quartermaster system will remain and officers will also receive a uniform allowance.
Seniority shift bidding:
Remains in place
Please note: At the time of the hearing, two of the cities selected by the CIR in our array were operating under expired 2007 wage scales (Ft Worth and St Paul). Since our hearing both of those cities have received their pay raises for 2008.
There will be more information forthcoming. Please refer to the ruling for more details.
Thank you for your patience.
Aaron Hanson

Grants Pass, OR - New Police Contract Signed

By Scott Jorgensen

Today, a collective bargaining agreement between the City of Grants Pass and the Grants Pass Police Association was signed by City Manager David Frasher.

The three-year agreement had been unanimously approved by the City Council on December 3. It contained no changes to employees' medical and dental coverage, and held annual average wage increases to 2.12 percent.

The current collective bargaining agreement between the Police Association and the City expires on December 30.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION POSTED ON CITY'S WEBSITE - It appears the following text comes from the Grants Pass Daily Courier, but no attribution is posted - Ron York

Municipalities in Oregon bargain with Police Officers & Firefighters based on specific law
Posted Date: 12/19/2008 2:15 PM

GRANTS PASS, ORE. – Municipalities in Oregon bargain with Police Officers and Firefighters based on specific law. In Oregon, firefighters and police officers are not allowed (by law) to strike. Instead, the law provides specific guidelines outlining how bargaining occurs. This includes the final step of Binding Arbitration. Binding Arbitration holds risks for government agencies and can easily lead to costly awards.

The ultimate goal is to reach an appropriate settlement that provides fair compensation to the employees, while maintaining sound fiscal management on the part of the city. Recently, police unions in Oregon gained significant cost increases. Mostly in the form of Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs), some agencies gained increases of as much as 10% to base compensation. In fact, the Federal Government and Social Security provided increases of 5.8% and local schools awarded employees 3.5%.

The collective bargaining agreement with the Grants Pass Police Association expires on December 30, 2008. The city negotiating team, which includes a privately contracted labor attorney, had reached impasse and appeared to be moving towards arbitration. However, in late November, with help from a mediator mandated by state law, the city negotiations team was successful in reaching a tentative agreement that was significantly lower than comparison agencies, as well as other local government entities.

On December 3, 2008, the Grants Pass City Council unanimously approved the agreement and it was signed by the Grants Pass Police Association and City Manager David Frasher on December 19th.

The agreement did not alter medical/dental coverage. The agreement spans three years, adjusts base salary in the case of two civilian positions (gradually over three years) that fell well below comparators, and provides the following base wage adjustments:

- January 1, 2009 Increase of 1%
- July 1, 2009 Increase of 2.7%
- January 1, 2010 Increase of 2%
- January 1, 2011 Increase of 2%

The City of Grants Pass is pleased to have provided a balanced contract with minimal increases, locked in for 3 years, particularly during challenging economic times. We are also please that our police officers recognized the importance of making concessions that held the overall annual average increase for the next three years to 2.12%.


Omaha, NE - City, police head back to bargaining table


The new Omaha police contract developed by a state labor court offered no guidance on how to restructure the city's beleaguered pension system.

That means city officials and police union representatives will begin a new round of negotiations soon to decide how to address a police and fire pension shortfall, one that hasn't been helped by a recent downturn in the stock market. The shortfall is potentially a huge liability for taxpayers.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Zanesville, OH - Police union to vote on 3-year pact Tuesday

Zanesville Times-Record

"ZANESVILLE -- A tentative agreement has been reached between officers with the Zanesville Police Department and the city, according to Tom Porter, vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police Zane Lodge 5.

Porter, would not release details of the three-year agreement, but said the 48 union members will vote on the contract Tuesday."

Grand Rapids, MI - Manager pleased with ruling that raises police pay, but shifts health care burden

The Grand Rapids Press

"GRAND RAPIDS — For the first time in 18 months, city police officers will get a raise. Their pay will increase 4.5 percent after Jan. 1, followed by a 3 percent pay bump on July 1.

But thanks to the rest of the arbitration ruling released today, City Manager Kurt Kimball was in a mood to celebrate.

Kimball said the city won a key victory when the arbitrator ruled police officers must pay 10 percent of their health care costs. Until now, city employees and retirees have not paid anything toward their health care premiums."

Omaha, NE -| State Rules on Omaha Police Contract


"OMAHA (KPTM) - The Omaha Police Union and the city has an agreement over salary and health insurance premiums, thanks to a ruling by the Nebraska commission charged with settling the dispute.

The Nebraska Commission on Industrial Relations ruled that the city should give officers pay increases and officers should start paying a percentage of health insurance premiums.

The city will also make smaller pension payments under the ruling."

Lancaster, OH - City Council rejects bargaining with police union by 8-1 margin

Lancaster Eagle-Gazette

"LANCASTER - A collective bargaining agreement between the city of Lancaster and a police supervisors labor union was rejected by the Lancaster City Council on Thursday.

Councilman Tom Stoughton, R-4th Ward, said the city did not want to approve contract with the Lancaster Police Supervisors Association, in part because it included a higher insurance percentage than the other union contracts with the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Local 3427 and the fire union."

Suffolk County, NY - County Executive to push for state review of police union perks

County Executive Steve Levy


"In the latest escalation in a war between the Suffolk County executive and the police union, Steve Levy said yesterday he would push for state review of perks granted under the county's contract with the police union.

Levy is to announce today that he will call on the Suffolk legislature to pass a resolution to ask Albany to review a contract that allows officers to take what he called a 'ridiculous' amount of time off.

'We're not claiming these [perks] are illegal. We're saying they're outrageous and they're not sustainable for the public,' Levy said."

El Monte, CA - Layoffs Threathened By Mayor

Detective Brian Glick, President of El Monte POA

San Gabriel ValleyTribune

City officials have told the El Monte Police Officer's Association they need to lay off five sworn police officers, according to Detective Brian Glick, president of the association.

"We are not going to make any cuts whatsoever in regard to our salaries. We are not going to allow or agree to anybody being laid off. We feel that there are some other solutions," Glick said.

The association has offered to adjust how officers receive holiday time. Instead of being paid at the end of the year for unused holiday time, officers would have their unused time converted to vacation time, which could be used at any time during their careers or cashed in at the end of their careers.

Glick said the change could save the city enough money in the short term to protect the five officers' jobs as well as potentially some of the civilian positions that have been announced for layoffs."

Denver, CO - City seeks 2% pay cut from cops, fire and deputies

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper

The Denver Post

"Mayor John Hickenlooper's administration has asked the unions that represent Denver's police officers, firefighters and sheriff's deputies to renegotiate salary contracts and accept a 2 percent salary cut next year.

Kelly Brough, the mayor's chief of staff, confirmed that she and other administration officials have been meeting with all three unions to come up with ways to close a mushrooming budget gap for next year. She said she asked for the wage concessions during those negotiations."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Louisville, KY - FOP Files Suit Against City Over Take Home Cars


"LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The River City Fraternal Order of Police filed a lawsuit Thursday against Metro Government over take-home vehicles. Officers were told they have decide if they want to pay higher fees to keep their cars while off-duty. But the FOP contends the city is prohibited from doing that without first negotiating."

Sacramento, CA - So Just How Bad Is It In California?

Pacific Grove, California

InvestorCentric Blog

"California's budget problems have gone from bad to worse. Democrats and Republicans are at a standstill on how to fix the problems, and while they fight nothing is getting done to address the problem. At the current pace California will run out of money in a couple months, which would be an absolute disaster. California has the largest state economy in the country and their pain will surely be felt in all of the U.S. Tim Iacono from The Mess That Greenspan Made looks closer at the latest developments in his blog post below."

San Francisco, CA - More California Towns Face Bankruptcy

Rio Vista, California - Unfinished residential addition

Wall Street Journal

"RIO VISTA, Calif. -- California may soon have more bankrupt towns on its hands.

The city of Vallejo, Calif., gained national attention earlier this year by filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. Now, two neighbors are fighting to avoid the same fate, as the state's economic crisis spreads.

Isleton and Rio Vista, small towns roughly 50 miles northeast of San Francisco, say they have begun consulting with bankruptcy lawyers as they draw up plans to deal with their mounting budget crises. The towns' leaders say they hope to avoid bankruptcy, but concede the move may eventually be their only option."

Anchorage, AK - Assembly passes firefighter union contract

Anchorage Firefighters at last night's City Assembly meeting


"ANCHORAGE, Alaska-- In a 7-4 vote, the Anchorage Assembly voted to pass a five-year collective bargaining agreement between the city and the local chapter of the International Association of Firefighters.

On Tuesday, it was a battle over a new deal with the police union, and on Wednesday, the Assembly debated a new contract for the fire department.

Opponents worry that with the nation's economy in a recession, the five year labor contract may put too much of a strain on the city budget and tax payers."

Los Angeles, CA - Council OKs $74 million in midyear budget cuts

City councilman, Bernard C. Parks

Los Angeles Times

"Villaraigosa continues to reject the suggestion of Councilmen Bernard C. Parks and Greig Smith to slow or freeze the mayor's program to hire 1,000 additional police officers.

'Let me make something clear -- I am not talking about the slowing down of our police recruitment effort,' Villaraigosa said at a news conference. 'These numbers are irrefutable; L.A. is safer than at any time since the 1950s.'

At the same event, Police Chief William J. Bratton argued that a slow-down in the program would not solve the city's budget crisis and that council members had made a commitment to the plan."

Malverne, NY - Police's holiday perk revoked by arbitrator


"The Malverne police union that claimed hundreds of paid days off for officers who worked 'special' holidays such as Gold Star Mother's Day and Child Health Day has lost its bid to keep the unusual perk and accrued time off.

An independent arbitrator's decision to side with the village means about half of the department's 22 officers owe back time for work on more than two dozen arcane observances, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton Day (Nov. 12) and Gerald Ford Day (Jan. 2).

'I would say there has been some disappointment in the department,' said Malverne Mayor Patricia McDonald."

New York,NY - New pension tier for the NYC uniforms: Fight is on (Spin Cycle)

"Proposals to cheapen pensions for future New York City uniformed employees -- pushed this week by Gov. David A. Paterson at Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s urging -- are gaining their share of buzz on Long Island.

Thousands of Nassau and Suffolk residents, of course, work for or have retired from the city’s fire and police departments and other major service agencies.

Proposals to shave pension entitlements for new employees emerge in every fiscal crisis, prompting resistance from public-service unions and from the lawmakers responsive to them. Each pension tier marks an effort at what policy-makers call fiscal reform. Over the years the state has had four such tiers. The constitution bars cutting pensions to those already on the job or retired."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Toronto, ON - Police to get a raise

Global News

"After a long contract fight that ended up in arbitration, Toronto Police are about to become the highest paid officers in the province.

Global News has learned that a provincial arbitrator will recommend a salary increase of more than 10% over the next three years, beginning with a 3.4% retroactive increase for 2008.

Toronto Police will overtake officers from Peel Regional Police as the best paid in Ontario. Sources say the recommended contract will also include benefit increases."

Port Arthur, TX - Police Have Contract Through 2011


"Port Arthur Police Officers have a new contract with the city.

City Council Members Tuesday, December 16, 2008 approved the new deal giving officers a pay increase each year of the 3-year agreement.

The collective bargaining agreement gives officers a four and a half per cent increase in the first year. The second year brings a five per cent raise. And officers can look forward to a five and a half per cent raise in year three."

San Leandro, CA - Suit over police dressing time to strip city of $660,000

The Daily Review

"SAN LEANDRO — The City Council on Monday settled a 2006 lawsuit brought by the San Leandro Police Officers Association seeking compensation for time officers and sergeants spend 'donning and doffing' their uniforms at the beginning and end of their shifts.

The settlement includes a city payment of $460,000, — with about $200,000 going to the association and its approximately 90 members, and the remainder to attorneys.

In addition, the council approved another $200,000 in longevity pay, shift and assignment differentials for these officers and sergeants in 2010.

'It's been a long, drawn-out process,' Sgt. Mike Sobek, the police union's president, said Tuesday. 'At the end of the day, this agreement and settlement is fair to all parties.'"

Portsmouth, VA - City OKs public safety pay raises, but rift emerges

The Virginian-Pilot

"City police and firefighters could see more competitive pay next year under a revised salary plan the City Council approved 7-0 at a special meeting Tuesday night.

The new plan for sworn employees will for the first time be based on years of service. It s aim is to retain workers by raising pay to the regional average.

Officer Jason Knorowski, president of the local chapter and the state division of the Police Benevolent Association, thanked the council in anticipation of the vote."

Anchorage, AK - Police Union gets 5-year deal it sought, but firefighters must wait until today's meeting

Anchorage Police Officers at last night's City Assembly meeting

Anchorage Daily News

A sharply divided Anchorage Assembly approved a five-year labor contract for the city's 500-plus member police department late Tuesday night but didn't get to a similar contract with the union representing firefighters.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Topeka, KS - County Commissioners OK raise for deputies

Kansas State Capitol, Topkea,KS
(Topeka is in Shawnee County)

The Capital-Journal

"Shawnee County commissioners Monday approved a contract that will give a 2 percent cost-of-living pay raise in 2009 and 2010 to sheriff's deputies with the rank of sergeant and below.

Commissioners Shelly Buhler, Vic Miller and Ted Ensley voted 3-0 to agree to the contract. It was previously approved by deputies who are members of the Fraternal Order of Police, which represented deputies in contract talks with the county."

Springfield, MO - Council supports plan to save police/fire pension

Landers Theater, Springfield, MO

Springfield News-Leader

"An eight-point plan tied to voters' approval of a 1-cent sales tax to save the city's troubled police/ fire pension plan drew unanimous support from the Springfield City Council on Monday night.

The council was not in complete agreement, however. Councilwoman Cindy Rushefsky lost her bid to eliminate one key point -- a promise by the city to enact no new citywide taxes while the pension sales tax was in effect.

Rushefsky said no one knows what kind of new troubles the city might face in five years. She said she was uncomfortable with City Manager Greg Burris' promise to bar any new citywide taxes during that time."

Anchorage, AK - Hot Time Tonight - Union deals on City Assembly docket

Patrick Flynn, Assemblyman

Anchorage Daily News

A pair of five-year labor contracts with unions representing nearly 900 Anchorage police and firefighters headline a busy night for the city Assembly tonight.

Each contract provides a 3 percent wage increase next year and annual inflation-related hikes ranging from a minimum of 2.9 percent to a 4.5 percent maximum from 2010 through 2013.

An analysis by the city's internal auditor says the fire contract alone would add from $22.7 million to $29.7 million to the city's wage costs over the life of that contract. The added wage cost of the police contract would be from $29.2 million to $38.2 million.

Union officers and city officials say the unions have agreed to health coverage changes that will save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Cleveland, OH - Flashback To 1978 - Kuncinich Takes Cleveland Into The Drink

U.S. News

"Struggling to emerge from the results of a recession and massive auto industry layoffs, Cleveland became the first major American city to default on its debts since the Great Depression, 30 years ago today.

The city owed $15.5 million, mostly to six banks, which stayed open until midnight on Dec. 15, 1978, to see if an agreement could be reached. None could. The resulting fiasco torpedoed the city's credit rating, which Moody's Investor Service had labeled with a healthy 'A' just six months earlier."

Gettelfinger For President - President of the United States


Ron Gettelfinger has become the smoothest politician of the twenty-first century. I am serious - he is a politician's politician. As the head of one of the most demonized groups in this country - the United Auto Workers - he has defied all odds and made a case for his constituents.

Today, he is doing the unthinkable - making concessions. Listen you old line unionist, Ron understands the tactic of retreat. Retreat is not defeat, but a strategy to accomplish victory. I would follow this guy anywhere. He is not talking the same of old union thug talk of his predecessors. Management? You better watch your flank, lest you find yourself working for a person from the rank and file - Ron Gettelfinger.

Those of you who seek to demonize and chastise him do not recognize brilliance. Gettelfinger has his sites on the long-term goal, unlike Rick Wagoner and company who cannot see past the current quarterly financial statement. Ron Gettlefinger is the Renaissance man of the workers movement.

God bless Ron Gettelfinger.

Detroit, MI - Bush Blinks on the Auto Bailout

Ron Gettelfinger
president of the United Auto Workers

Wall Street Journal

"You have to hand it to Ron Gettelfinger, president of the United Auto Workers union, and his colleagues. Negotiating for a living is, you know, what they do. And they're good, very good. They know when somebody's about to blink.

So it was last Thursday night that Mr. Gettelfinger rejected the deal offered by Senate Republicans for interim bailout money to keep General Motors and Chrysler alive for a few more months. The UAW chief was betting that the Bush administration would blink, and that the union would get a better deal from the politicians than it would get from the marketplace or from a bankruptcy judge. It's a ploy we all learned in childhood."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Royse City, TX - Police department struggles to keep officers

Royse City Herald-Banner

"The Royse City Police Department has lost five active members in 2008. Due to budget cuts, and two out on leave, the city can only replace two.

Of the three who actually left the department, the primary reason for leaving was non-stable work schedules, according to Chief Tom Shelton.

Shelton said filling the two available positions is difficult because area towns, such as Rockwall and Heath, pay more, and therefore candidates will look to them first."

Three Oaks, MI - Resort town's finances implode

Chicago Tribune

THREE OAKS, Mich.—Odd thing about this resort town is that you wouldn't know it's flat-busted, belly-up broke.

The Miss Three Oaks pageant is still on. The local volunteer radio station, all 100 watts of it, continues to broadcast a funky, eclectic mix of music and talk. And the glass-enclosed bulletin board of the Methodist church on Elm Street, always looking beyond life's transitory concerns, reassures residents that "Autumn Leaves, God Doesn't."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Yonkers, NY - Layoffs To Include Police and Fire

The Journal News

"YONKERS - Faced with a $16 million budget gap, Mayor Phil Amicone yesterday announced plans to lay off 76 full-time workers and scale back municipal services including cuts to special police units, the elimination of one fire company and the end of bulk trash pickups for residents.

Set to take effect Jan. 1, the cuts also call for the layoffs of 75 part-time workers, 28 demotions and the elimination of 44 vacant positions.

Among the full-time layoffs would be 11 police officers and six firefighters, as well as 46 members of the Department of Public Works. The mayor said workers will be told beginning next week whether they are affected."

Beaver Dam, WI - A New Way of Negotiating

Mayor Tom Kennedy

Daily Citizen

"When Tom Kennedy decided to run for mayor a year ago, he said restoring unity between the mayor's office and city employees and instilling a spirit of cooperation during labor negotiations were top priorities.

A year later, Kennedy feels he has accomplished those goals.

On Monday, the city council will vote on a trio of labor contracts that according to each side were bargained quickly, in good faith and with little assistance from the city's labor attorney.

Which is exactly how Kennedy wanted it."

Toledo, OH - Mayor asks unions for pension rollback

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner

Toledo Blade

Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner has reached out to the leaders of the city's unions and requested that a 3 percent temporary rollback of their pension plans be put before their memberships for a vote.
"We are proposing that for one year the city's contribution to this plan would be reduced by 3 percent, which, in turn, would then save the city approximately $3 million in the general fund, once implemented across all bargaining units," Mr. Finkbeiner said in a letter to all unions.

"The 3 percent contribution reduction by the city of Toledo would then be picked up directly by the employee."


Friday, December 12, 2008

Los Angeles, CA - Villaraigosa brings out the knife

Los Angeles Times

"Hoping to avert layoffs next year, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is negotiating a voluntary retirement plan with the city's employee unions that could affect as many as several thousand workers.

In a letter Friday to City Council members outlining his plan to eliminate an $86.6-million gap in the current year's budget, Villaraigosa said he had directed the personnel department to come up with a plan for layoffs in case the city and the unions cannot reach a deal.

'I know that involuntary downsizing will be devastating for the affected individuals and the city as a whole, but I believe I have no choice,' Villaraigosa wrote. 'We must plan for various potential outcomes, including layoffs.'"

Anchorage, AK - Police, fire contracts on Assembly docket

Everett Robbins, the president of the police union

NBC 2 Anchorage

"ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- As Anchorage police and firefighters prepare to cut a deal with the municipality, Assembly members had one last chance to ask questions before Tuesday's Assembly meeting.

The Assembly is set to vote on the contracts Tuesday night.

Both the municipality and the unions say they've made important concessions in the five-year deals, and neither side says they're getting everything they want.

People packed the City Hall meeting room Friday to help iron out the union contracts.

There are two union contracts on the table -- one each for Anchorage police officers and firefighters."

Washington, DC - GOP senators' auto alternative offers distinction without difference


"Tennessee Republican Bob Corker Wednesday morning asked fellow senators to approve an alternative to the $14 billion auto industry bailout approved by the House Wednesday night. Coker is among a group of GOP senators adamantly opposed to the bailout bill. The others include Sens. John Ensign, R-Nev., Tom Coburn, R-Okla., Jim DeMint, R-S.C., David Vitte, R-La., and Richard Shelby, R-Ala. Their main objection is ideological opposition to the presidentially appointed 'czar' who would be empowered to bring the carmakers together with their lenders, suppliers, dealers and workers and force all to accept debt write-downs and other 'haircuts' in the Big Three carmakers' obligations. Instead they are pushing a rival plan that would force General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC and maybe Ford Motor Co. if necessary to operate with debtor-in-possession financing that may or many not require them to formally declare Chapter 11."

Detroit, MI - Against All Odds, Ron Gettelfinger Stands Up To Goliath

Detroit News

"The collapse of emergency aid to Detroit's struggling Big Three automakers could prompt suppliers to cut off deliveries and start demanding cash payments up front from the strapped carmakers, according to the president of the United Auto Workers.

Ron Gettelfinger said he talked to General Motors Corp. CEO Rick Wagoner and Chrysler LLC President Tom Lasorda this morning, and that their biggest concern is whether suppliers will stop delivering parts or require payment upon delivery or in advance if they think federal aid is not coming.

'We need to satisfy the suppliers that there is going to be a tomorrow,' Gettelfinger said. 'If suppliers believe they can't operate, what are they going to do? They aren't going to deliver the goods.'"