Monday, August 31, 2009

Denver Firefighters deal reached, Negotiations with police continue

From the Denver Daily News
By Peter Marcus, DDN Staff Writer
Friday, August 28, 2009

A tentative agreement has been reached between the city and the firefighters’ union that would save Denver $3.2 million next year.

Facing a budget shortfall of $120 million, city officials were forced to call the Denver Fire Fighters Union Local 858 back to the negotiating table to craft a contract that works with the city’s current fiscal woes.

Over the next two years, firefighters would forgo $7 million worth of salary and health benefits in order to keep firehouses open. Union members must still approve the agreement; a vote is expected Sept. 1 and 2.

Firefighters would forgo $3.2 million in salary next year, and another $3.2 million in 2011. Another $600,000 would be saved through modified health care benefits.

“Fire safety is very, very important to us, it was critical that we worked on this to keep firehouses open,” a tired Aaron S. Jonke, secretary-treasurer of Local 858, told the Denver Daily News at his north Broadway office yesterday. “We didn’t want a situation where public safety could have been endangered.”

Union and city officials worked through the night Wednesday before coming to the agreement early Thursday morning.

Mayor John Hickenlooper was fast to applaud the union for its understanding.

“Denver Firefighters Local 858 has once again stepped up and helped the city deal with the current fiscal crisis,” said the mayor. “We recognize the hardship this agreement may put on firefighters and their families, and we are grateful for the public service firefighters provide to our community.”

Hickenlooper said the cuts would allow the city to avoid laying off firefighters, which could lead to public safety concerns.

Union officials acknowledge the public safety aspect, but point out that the concessions would come at “great personal sacrifice” to the firefighters themselves. Through 2011, firefighters would be sacrificing nearly $10,000 each.

Jonke shrugged off the notion that it, “is what it is,” pointing out that during an economic downturn, the last thing firefighters want is to make salary concessions.

Pat Rhoades, president of Local 858, said she expects the union membership to approve the agreement.

“Denver firefighters have always been active members of their community and once again I believe they will step up to make sure that all of the firehouses and fire apparatus remain open,” said Rhoades. “Denver firefighters believe strongly that public safety should never be jeopardized and our sacrifices once again prove that we are always there when you need us.”

Negotiations with police continue

Meanwhile, the city is still in contract negotiations with the police union. City officials also asked the Denver Police Protective Association to come back to the negotiating table when they learned in July that the city’s budget shortfall was actually $120 million, not $70 million.

Back in March, the police union had agreed to $2.3 million in concessions, but facing a fiscal crisis, city officials asked to open the contract again.

“As of this moment in time, we don’t have anything yet, but we’re working on something,” said Vince Gavito, president of the Denver Police Protective Association.

Firefighters in April agreed to nearly $1.4 million in concessions for this year and agreed to an additional $1.4 million in 2010. Union officials say the latest round of concessions brings the total through 2012 to $8.4 million.

“Firefighters value their role as being an instrumental part of the community and know that keeping all of the firehouses open will preserve public safety and keep firefighters a little safer in an already dangerous profession,” said Jonke. “These concessions will eliminate the need for firefighter layoffs.”

Friday, August 28, 2009

Vallejo CA - Judge McManus Signs The Firefighter Deal

VALLEJO TIMES HERALD

Path clear for City, fire union to negotiate new deal - Vallejo Times Herald: "U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michael McManus Thursday approved the agreement the city reached with the fire union, rejecting a collective bargaining agreement that would have run through June 2010, the city announced.
The ruling allows the city to set aside the existing fire union contract and begin negotiating terms of a new accord.

The hearing before McManus in Sacramento was brief because the city and the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) had agreed beforehand, city bankruptcy attorney Marc Levinson said.

McManus approved the agreement Thursday morning and was expected to sign it later in afternoon, Levinson said"
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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Coral Gables police officers protest proposal to cut their pay

By ELAINE DE VALLE
Miami Hearld

While the matter was not on the agenda for Tuesday's commission meeting, dozens of Coral Gables police officers showed up at City Hall on Tuesday to show their distaste for a 7.5 percent pay cut proposed by the administration.

Wearing T-shirts that read, ``My life isn't worth 7% less,'' the officers stood side by side as their president gave a short speech after Mayor Don Slesnick spoke.

Coral Gables Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 7 President John Baublitz said he couldn't be too specific because the city and the union are at impasse over contract negotiations, meaning the commission will make the decision. That could happen as early as next week.

Coral Gables, like many cities, is contending with a budget shortfall due to lower property tax revenues. City Manager Patrick Salerno has proposed a 7.5 percent salary decrease for members of the police and general employees union and a 5 percent salary cut for firefighters. The firefighters union voluntarily took its 5 percent pay cut in a contract signed this summer.

The police union is still negotiating with the city.

``We know the mayor and commission will do the right thing and keep the citizens safe,'' Baublitz said outside City Hall. ``These cuts will decimate the department.''

Baublitz said the cuts would not allow the Gables department to compete with other agencies across the county. The Gables department provided the fourth best pay and benefits from 16 police agencies in the county five years ago, he said.

``Now we are 13 out of 16,'' he said. ``Every other department in the county has a better retirement plan. If they do the cuts they want to do now, we won't be able to keep anyone. All the young officers with less than 10 years on the force, they'll have to leave.''

Salerno scoffed at that notion.

``We lose officers now. People leave for family reasons, for positions they think may be better,'' Salerno said, acknowledging that turnover might increase.

``I certainly would not want to lose police officers. However, this is, in many respects, an ability to pay issue on the part of the city,'' Salerno said. ``What we've asked for is for the police to make a pension contribution. They are the only bargaining unit that does not contribute.''

Other employees, including firefighters, have contributed 5 percent of their pay to the pension -- which comprises 45 percent of the city's budget -- for at least four years, the manager said.

``That's just simply a situation that is not one that is sustainable over the long term, and it needs to be addressed,'' he said, referring to the pension being nearly half of payroll costs.
He said the union representatives did not present any financial terms at the meeting last Friday, but sent a fax to the city's labor attorney, James Crosland, on Friday afternoon. The union asked for the multiplier on the pension to be 3.4 percent, rather than 3 percent. The change would allow someone who worked for the city for 20 years to 68 percent of his or her salary, rather than 60 percent.

``This is not a time to be asking for increased pension benefits,'' Salerno said. ``In these particular times, I am not aware of communities giving increased benefits.''

City commissioners are scheduled to hear both sides at a hearing at 10 a.m. Monday in commission chambers at City Hall, 405 Biltmore Way.

Vallejo, CA - All The Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth Was For Naught

BY RON YORK
POLICEPAY.NET

Part 1 - A Comedy of Errors

Today, the curtain comes down on the public safety element of the City of Vallejo's Chapter 9 Bankruptcy. IAFF Local 1186 agrees to stipulate to the rejection (rip to shreds and toss into the trash can) of their MOU. This was the goal of the city from the beginning. As a part of the agreement, the city and the union will enter into an accelerated negotiations process to write a new contract. If the negotiations are not successful, mediation and then binding arbitration will be used to get the contract completed. In addition, the firefighters will be allowed to seek damages for the failure of the city to comply with the contract during the bankruptcy process. This could be huge or it could be nothing. It will be something in between.

Originally, there were four unions involved - police, fire, laborers, and office workers. The police and office workers came to a deal with the city earlier this year. The city filed for bankruptcy in May of 2008, after unsuccessfully trying to get substantial concessions out of the four unions.

Based on our database for police only, the City of Vallejo (population 120,000) was shoulder-to-shoulder in pay with two of the other highest paid departments - Oakland and Beverly Hills. Oakland is probably the meanest beat in California and Beverly Hills has a contract that guarantees it first place in Southern California. There does not appear to be any environmental reason for Vallejo to be positioned so high. However, Vallejo's pay for police officers was not obscene or detached from the San Francisco wage market. They were just at the top.

The City of Vallejo was for many years a naval city. It is at the north end of the San Francisco Bay. Being a government town, it also had a large contingent of organized labor - the old hard core East Coast kind. As a result, the city employees developed a similar demeanor. As long as the locally economy boomed, this old school style of employee relations was tolerable.

And then came the closing of the naval operation at about same time as two totally different classes of people in San Francisco and Oakland began to migrate to Vallejo. One was lower income people trying to escape the high cost of living in San Francisco. The other was idealistic "yuppies" seeking a "Starbucks-Whole Foods" utopia. This set into place a set of dynamics that brought the City of Vallejo to the current crisis.

With the success of Vallejo since 1945 came a pervasive political apathy among the citizens. Moving into this vacuum was the city employee unions. The firefighters were particularly active in getting their candidates elected to the city council. This was accomplished with a two pronged plan. One was to spend large sums of money on getting candidates elected and to use punitive actions to silence any opposition on the city council. The unions were able to get binding arbitration which resulted in some decisions that were unpopular with many citizens.

When 2008 arrived in Vallejo, it was a dysfunctional family in a state of crisis. The naval operation was gone, which severely hurt the city's economy. The expansion of Section 8 housing brought more of the criminal element to Vallejo. The yuppies had successful kept the big box stores out Vallejo for the most part. The employee unions had garnered control of the city council. The yuppies had stymied any potential source of new tax revenues. Everybody working for the city, from the janitor to the city manager, was being paid more than what the market would normally dictate. The president of the firefighters union was indulging in his favorite fetish for cracking-the-whip on city officials who did not agree him. He was suing the former city manager and council members for defamation of character. This had become the weapon of choice - the lawsuit.

As the economic tide began turning several years ago, an online publication, "Vallejo Is Burning" , was started by Marc Garman. The site is now named "Vallejo Independent Bulletin" (VIB) and is the main vehicle to attack the employee unions, especially the police and fire. The demeanor of the VIB is like the the guy in the movie "Network" - "I am mad as hell and I am not taking it anymore."

The collision of these dynamics occurred during the first months of 2008:

Loss of naval base
Increase in crime
Blocking of large retailers
Pay rates that were not defendable
A city council majority that was financed by the unions
Frivolous union lawsuits designed to punish the opposition
The VIB on the attack
Political apathy consuming most citizens
A large money pipeline in place for the unions
Years and years of hatred and animosity.
Highly over inflated egos
Lawyers in place willing to prosecute anything for fees

On May 23, 2008, the city goes nuclear and drops the atomic bomb. More to come in Part 2.
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Vallejo, CA - Firefighters union, city reach deal, end dispute

BY JESSICA YORK
VALLEJO TIMES HERALD

Firefighters union, city reach deal, end dispute - Vallejo Times Herald: "Vallejo city and fire union officials have agreed to a controversial plan to tear up the employees' contract and start negotiating a new one.
The move leaves only one of the city's four employee unions -- the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) -- without some type of contract agreement. Officials also have called for a federal bankruptcy judge to gauge that contract's burden on city coffers.

The city has been working through Chapter 9 bankruptcy since May 2008, when city spending surged past bleak revenue forecasts, and ate through reserves.

Bankruptcy attorneys for the city and fire union codified their deal with a court filing Monday, though the agreement was signed Aug. 18. A judge will review it today in Sacramento."
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Vallejo, CA Firefighters Local 1186 Fold - Stipulate To Rejection of MOU - Seeking Damages

HEARING SET FOR 9:00 a.m. PDT TOMORROW IN SACRAMENTO
Commentary By Ron York Later in the day


BY JESSICA YORK
VALLEJO TIMES HERALD

City, Vallejo firefighters reach agreement on contract dispute - Vallejo Times Herald: "Vallejo city and fire union officials have agreed to a controversial plan to tear up the employees' contract and start over with a clean slate.
The move leaves only one of the city's four employee unions - the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) - without some type of contract agreement. Officials also have called for a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge to gauge that contract's burden on city coffers.

The city has been working through Chapter 9 bankruptcy since May 2008, when city spending surged past bleak revenue forecasts, and ate through reserves.

Bankruptcy attorneys for the city and fire union codified their deal with a court filing Monday, though the agreement was signed Aug. 18."
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Jacksonville Police Union Could Block Budget Plan

Jacksonville's police union could stand in the way of one budget-cutting option. Fraternal Order of Police President Nelson Cuba tells WOKV he won't accept any salary cuts for his officers when the union enters contract negotiations next week.
"As the lead negotiator for our contracts, I am not willing to accept a pay cut for our members," Nelson told WOKV's Jared Halpern. "You look around the state and where our salaries are at, our salaries are not adequate."
City Council's finance committee is recommending every city employee, including Sheriff's Officers and Jacksonville Fire and Rescue personnel, take a three percent pay cut in addition to across the board three percent cuts to department spending.
But, the vast majority of those employees are members of unions that must agree to salary cuts. Without concessions from the union, Sheriff John Rutherford says he's left with just one other option to trim payroll.
"I've still got to find five-point-seven million [dollars]," he told lawmakers Tuesday night. "That's going to be layoffs. There's no other way to address that, I don't think, at this time."

Hyannis Port, MA - Ted Kennedy dead at 77




BY MARTIN F. NOLAN
THE BOSTON GLOBE

Kennedy dead at 77 - The Boston Globe: "Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who carried aloft the torch of a Massachusetts dynasty and a liberal ideology to the citadel of Senate power, but whose personal and political failings may have prevented him from realizing the ultimate prize of the presidency, died at his home in Hyannis Port last night after a battle with brain cancer. He was 77."

Click Front Page to Enlarge
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Little movement in talks with Philadelphia city unions

With Philadelphia's finances held hostage by the state's budget impasse, progress on municipal contract talks has been slow to nonexistent.
Pacts with all four of the city's labor unions expired June 30, and there's no hint of any deals in the coming days.
"It's really hard to get agreements on union contracts when you don't know what your financial situation is," Mayor Nutter said. He said he was handicapped by inaction in Harrisburg on the city's proposals to increase Philadelphia's sales tax and defer $230 million in scheduled pension payments.
If those measures fail - the House gave its approval, but the soonest the Senate may act is next week - Nutter said he would be forced to eliminate 3,000 jobs, including 1,000 in the Police Department and 200 in the Fire Department, among other measures.
Philadelphia is not the only city where labor issues have intensified because of shrinking municipal revenue and other economic problems.
Facing budget shortfalls, Chicago's mayor has asked an arbitrator to step in and impose new terms on a police contract that has stalled for the last two years. Also, nearly 500 union workers were recently laid off. In Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is negotiating concessions with city unions to avoid deep layoffs and service cuts and has asked police and firefighters to accept pay cuts of 14 percent.
In Philadelphia, by this point last year, the city had announced deals with three of its four unions. The fourth agreement, with Local 22 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, was reached in mid-October - a date that, while late, was not unusual, since talks with the firefighters are typically the last to begin.
By contrast, this year no meetings have yet occurred with the firefighters.
To date, the city's negotiating team has met just three times each with District Council 33 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, which represents 9,400 blue-collar government workers, and AFSCME District Council 47, whose 3,400 members work in white-collar jobs.
The union deepest in contract talks is Lodge 5 of the Fraternal Order of Police, which, like the firefighters, reaches a new deal through arbitration.
Police arbitration hearings began in June but have been progressing slowly, covering issues such the city's attempt to cut back on full pay to about 300 officers on disability. At least three more sessions are scheduled into mid-September. Nutter is expected to testify during the last session, on Sept. 15.
Police union president John McNesby called the slow pace "disappointing." He blamed it on the city for scheduling 20 days of testimony that he said were unnecessary; on August vacation schedules that resulted in the unavailability of lawyers, consultants, and actuaries; and on the deadlock in Harrisburg.
"I think a lot of people's intentions were good," McNesby said, "but the bottom line is the [administration] doesn't know how much money it has or where the money is, and so until the whole puzzle comes together," not a lot can happen.
McNesby spoke in a phone interview from Long Beach, Calif., where he was attending a national FOP convention. "I'd much rather be back there talking about a new contract, but I'm in a holding pattern till they let us out of the gate," he said.
Bill Gault, the firefighters' union president, was far less understanding when it came to the state budget holdup.
He has called the current situation a "rookie budget blunder," since Nutter hedged the city's financial future on moves by the General Assembly. "The Harrisburg situation was completely foreseeable, and the mayor had no backup plan," Gault said. "Now people are seeing their jobs cut and their safety cut because of no planning."
In response, Everett Gillison, deputy mayor for public safety, said: "It's unfortunate that Mr. Gault has chosen to personally attack Mayor Nutter."
He said Gault, on the job less than two months, had written a letter supporting the mayor's Harrisburg agenda.
Herman "Pete" Matthews, leader of District Council 33, did not return calls.
District Council 47 spokesman Bob Bedard said: "Members are a little anxious because the city has been dragging its feet on negotiations and dragging its feet on real solutions. Like everybody else, they want their trash picked up or to have an ambulance or fire truck arrive on time."
The city and its workers are wide apart on issues big and small.
For example, the largest union, District Council 33, is seeking pay increases of 4 percent a year for four years, while the city wants to freeze wages.
Also, the union is pushing for the city to treat its members' birthdays as paid holidays, and to add Election Day as a paid holiday. Meanwhile, the city wants to eliminate three current paid holidays: Columbus Day, Presidents Day, and Veterans Day.
By far, though, the most controversial issues affecting all four unions concern pension costs and health-care benefits - matters that have a tremendous financial impact. Employee costs - wages, pensions, and benefits - absorb more than 60 percent of Philadelphia's nearly $4 billion budget.
In each of the pacts reached last year, the city did not increase what it pays monthly toward health benefits for union workers; for police and firefighters, the monthly payments were reduced.
While it is unclear whether higher payments were warranted, District Council 47 has complained of the unfairness of that deal, saying its members have had to dig into their own pockets to cover costs that they did not have to absorb before.
Meanwhile, Bedard points to an extra $6 million in medical-insurance costs that the city paid for its nonunion employees in 2009 compared with 2008. "It's an increased cost they could have reined in easily," he said of the administration.
City Finance Director Rob Dubow said not spending the money would have resulted in a lower level of benefits for nonunion workers. As for the deal with District Council 47, he said: "That's what we negotiated with them."

Police union sues to cut contract link to firefighters

Baltimore’s police union wants to jettison a decades-old contract provision that requires the city to give firefighters the same pay raises that police officers receive, hoping the move will clear the way for larger pay increases.
The police union leadership filed a lawsuit against the city last week on grounds that the parity or “me too” provisions of the fire unions’ contract puts the police in the position of “indirectly” negotiating for fire wages, according to the complaint filed in Baltimore Circuit Court. The clause therefore “interjects the interests of the Fire Department” into the police wage and benefits negotiations, according to the suit.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Omaha, NE - Police Contract Negotiations & Impending Retirements

Retiring Omaha Police Chief Eric Buske will receive pension benefits totaling nearly $104,000 a year for the rest of his life. The city’s police and retirement board of trustees certified the figure Thursday.
Seventy more officers are eligible to retire soon. On-going police contract negotiations may provide encouragement for them to take that step.
Police have been operating under a contract that expired in January 2008. Since then, they've been at an impasse with the city in negotiating a deal that both the police union and the city agree is fair.
"We're talking often, I'd say on a weekly basis at least and trying to work as hard as we can, trying to crunch a lot of data," said Police Union President Aaron Hanson.
The data is tied to staffing numbers and pensions. Now, police can retire after 25 years and receive 75% of their pay every year thereafter. Spiking salaries with overtime has been a problem, contributing to 8% of a major shortfall for future retirees.
"I think it's pretty clear that given the situation we face with the funding level of the pension system, there does need to be some reform,” Hanson said.
Management does not receive overtime, but based on his salary alone, Buske would net an annual pension of $98,000. However, figuring in added compensation time over 25 years of service adds to that, bringing his total pension to $103,973.04 a year.
With the possibility of retirement for some 70 officers by January, Hanson admits, they may have added incentive to do so. That, given a new contract could very well be in place by year’s end, one that may not provide the same kind of benefits to current retirees.
"They have to look out, not only for the interests of the city but for their own interest and their families well-being."
The possible retirements highlight an already understaffed police department. The department was authorized to have a staff of up to 840 this year, but they have only 774.
"With police recruit classes being delayed, that's a tough combination, it will definitely put us behind, especially considering it takes 6 months to train a recruit," Hanson said.
He added he’s hopeful both sides can get together on an equitable agreement soon. "I think that the mark of the true leaders both within the employee group and in city government will be, who can put politics aside, who can focus on joint problem solving,” Hanson said.
"I think both sides kind of work hard to try and find some type of resolution of this contract that's fair to police officers and their families and is also fair to the taxpayers.”
The mayor's spokesman, Ron Gerard, said from the city's perspective, “the contract negotiations are on-going, and they're making steady progress.” However, that's all he was at liberty to say.
Under federal law, police and firefighters are not eligible for social security. More than half of Americans do not have the benefit of a private pension. Out of those relying on social security, he average person will take home less than $14,000 a year.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sacramento, CA - Tough time finding candidates for cop jobs

BY RON COTTINGHAM, PRESIDENT OF PORAC
CAPITOL WEEKLY

Capitol Weekly: Tough time finding candidates for cop jobs: "There has been a great deal of talk about the salaries and retirement benefits for peace officers in California.� And no one, least of all me, will suggest that the men and women in uniform are not being treated better than they have been in the past. However, the job isn’t easy, and the compensation is not enough to make it simple to recruit reliable candidates willing to do the job."
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Las Vegas, NV - Labor Dispute Building Over School Police

LAS VEGAS NOW
CBS CHANNEL 8

Labor Dispute Building Over School Police - Las Vegas Now |:

"A labor dispute between the Clark County School District and its police officers has exploded into a public safety debate. CCSD officers haven't had a contract in three years, and now the police union is calling into question legal tactics the district is using.

The district and the officers have gone to the bargaining table 17 times, but they're at an impasse. Thursday night, union president Mike Thomas came to the school board and said before it's all over, public safety could be in jeopardy."
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Los Angeles, CA - Villaraigosa decries firefighters' union scare tactics

BY RICK ORLOV
DAILY BREEZE

Villaraigosa decries firefighters' union scare tactics - The Daily Breeze:

"Escalating the dispute over the Los Angeles Fire Department budget, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Thursday called the firefighters' union leadership 'irresponsible' for trying to scare the public into thinking their lives are in danger because of rotating service cuts.

The mayor said he was upset with the orange signs that members of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City were posting near fire stations that warn the public 'You and your family are in danger' and that the mayor and City Hall 'are gambling with your lives.'

The union also has posted on its Web site, www.uflac.org, a daily report called 'Brownout Alert,' which lists fire stations in each City Council district that are facing service reductions with the name and telephone number of the council member."
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Irvine, CA - Police pay freeze approved

BY SEAN EMERY
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Irvine ok's police pay freeze | city, police, irvine, leaders, pay - News - OCRegister.com:

"IRVINE – Irvine leaders on Tuesday approved a one-year pay freeze for the Police Department's rank and file, bringing the department in line with other employee groups who have agreed to forgo raises but overruling police union officials who contend the city has enough reserve funds to cover merit pay increases."
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Denver, CO - City responds to police union questions

BY JEFFREY WOLF
9NEWS DENVER

9NEWS.com | Colorado's Online News Leader | City responds to police union questions:

"DENVER - The city of Denver responded on Thursday to questions the union representing the Denver Police Department issued earlier this week.

The city is facing a budget deficit and has turned to the police for concessions.

The Police Protective Association says the Denver Police Department gave back $2.3 million in March to help the city balance the budget."
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fairfax County, VA - Police union, Fairfax spar over inauguration pay

Police union, Fairfax spar over inauguration pay | Washington Examiner:
BY WILLIAM C. FLOOK
WASHINGTON EXAMINER

"The head of Fairfax County's police union says the county shortchanged about 140 officers on pay they earned helping control crowds during President Barack Obama's inauguration.

Marshall Thielen, president of the Fairfax Coalition of Police, filed and lost a grievance with the county's Civil Service Commission seeking to recoup holiday pay that matched the grueling 18-hour shifts put in by the officers Jan. 20.

'It was not a desirable assignment,' he said. 'In fact, it was a fairly dangerous assignment, and they're not even compensating us for the extra holiday hours that we worked.'"
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Cincinnati, OH - Police will fight for jobs in court

Cincinnati police will fight for jobs in court:
BY LAUREN BERCARICH
CINCINNATI EXAMINER

"The fight to save jobs in the Queen City is getting ugly. Some City of Cincinnati employees will be going to court tomorrow to try to prevent layoffs.
Here’s the quick back story: Cincinnati is facing a $28 million dollar budget deficit, but must operate with a balanced budget. All departments are facing cuts, and the latest proposal includes more than 300 layoffs. Of that, 138 job cuts are coming from the police department. Another 19 are members of the middle managers union, called CODE."
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Sunday, August 09, 2009

Chandler, AZ - Police union: no negotiations with city

Police union: no negotiations with Chandler | Chandler Arizona News - Chandler News - Chandler, AZ news | eastvalleytribune.com:

BY ARI COHN
EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE

"Keith Benjamin, president of a Chandler police union that is at odds with city management over a proposed wage freeze, said Friday that his upcoming meeting with City Manager Mark Pentz does not mean the union's position could change.

'It's not negotiations. Our contract is closed,' said Benjamin, Chandler Lieutenants and Sergeants Association president. The two parties are expected to meet in the next couple of weeks.

CLASA's labor contract with Chandler is only a year old and doesn't expire until July 2011. Even so, city management has proposed eliminating the 48-member union's total of about $46,000 in annual merit pay - which gets added to base pay each year to move officers through their pay range - and replacing it with an equal one-time payment this year that would not be added to base pay."
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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Violence - Your Duty Is Clear and Unequivocal

BY RON YORK
POLICEPAY.NET

Over the last two days there have been violent out breaks at several town hall meetings being held by members of congress concerning the proposed health bill. Tempers have turned into violence. One organization keeps coming up in the articles SEIU. I was not there and cannot assign blame You are under no obligation to treat disorderly thugs as your "brothers." Do not lose sight of why you are a law enforcement officer - "To Protect and Serve." You do this without regard to race, color, sex, age, political affiliation, religion, or even your own paycheck - no exceptions. If the president of your own police union is behaving like a thug arrest him. If the mayor is assaulting some one arrest him. If some other union is behaving like thugs arrest them. If the local Priest and Nuns are behaving like thugs arrest them. Your duty as a law enforcement officer, which you accepted when you took an oath to up hold the law, is your sole credo. Everything else is secondary.
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St. Louis, MO - Violence At Town Hall Meetings

Weekend Opinionator: A Sick Debate - The Opinionator Blog - NYTimes.com:

BY TOBIN HARSHAW
NEW YORK TIMES

"Am I the only one to suspect that the debate over health care has turned into a nationwide avant-garde performance based on “Rashomon”? Everyone has his or her individual truth, and feels that everyone else is not just wrong, but is lying with the basest of motives. So, from these individual truths, are we gaining any understanding of the objective big picture? Or are we, like the four tale-tellers in Kurosawa’s film, simply looking out for ourselves?"
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Vallejo, CA - Vallejo Independent Bulletin - Damage Control or Deal?--8/7/09

Vallejo Independent Bulletin - Damage Control or Deal?--8/7/09: "8/7/09

By Marc Garman
Vallejo Independent Bulletin

According to a press release issued by The City of Vallejo, the IAFF 1186 (International Association of Firefighters) and IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) have withdrawn their appeal to the Ninth Circuit regarding Vallejo's eligibility for Chapter 9 Bankruptcy. The unions have the ability to withdraw their appeal at will, but why now?

One possibility is damage control. The previous decision by the Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel was a loss for the unions with a jurisdiction that extended to the Eastern District of California. In other words, the precedent would be binding in the Eastern District of California only. Bankruptcy judges in other districts might look at the decision but would not be compelled to follow the precedent."
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Vallejo, CA - Unions end challenge to Vallejo's bankruptcy

Unions end challenge to Vallejo's bankruptcy - Vallejo Times Herald:

BY JESSICA YORK
VALLEJO TIMES HERALD

"Two city employee unions have abandoned their challenge of Vallejo's bankruptcy eligibility, city officials said Friday.
Since the city filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in May 2008, some of the city's labor unions have contested the move. But on Thursday, attorneys for two unions still without renegotiated contracts allowed this week's deadline for further appeals to pass.

After losing their initial challenge in U.S. Bankruptcy Court last September, the unions appealed to a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals bankruptcy panel. That panel ruled against the unions on June 26.

They had until this week to file a further challenge."
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Friday, August 07, 2009

Vallejo, CA - Firefighters Drop Their Appeal of City's Bankruptcy Petition

BY RON YORK
POLICEPAY.NET

We are not certain where this leaves us. As soon we sort out the details, we will tell you.

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Cincinnati, OH - Unions Label City's Deficit Claims As Sham

WLWT (NBC)

Unions Label City's Deficit Claims As Sham - Money News Story - WLWT Cincinnati: "CINCINNATI -- A civil service formality turned into a venting session Thursday morning as union leaders labeled the city's deficit a sham.

Mayor Mark Mallory intends to open the books Thursday afternoon and allow union officials to see for themselves that the city will run an estimated $28 million deficit this year and $40 million next year.

'From here it looks like it's going to be $40 million,' Mallory said. 'We don't know; it could be worse. My guess is, it's going to be worse. It could be $45 (million), it could be $35 (million).'"
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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Los Angeles, CA - Bratton announces he will resign as LAPD chief


BY JOEL RUBIN
LOS ANGELES TIMES

William J. Bratton announces he will resign as LAPD chief - Los Angeles Times: "William J. Bratton today abruptly announced his plan to resign as chief of the Los Angeles Police Department to take over as head of a private security firm.

Bratton, who has dramatically reshaped the LAPD and pushed down crime rates since taking over in 2002, is expected to step down at the end of October."
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Cincinnati, OH - 138 in police department face layoffs

BY JANE PRENDERGAST
CINCINNATI ENQUIRER

138 in police department face layoffs | Cincinnati.com | Cincinnati.Com: "Cincinnati police could take the biggest hit in layoffs this year to make up for the city’s $28 million deficit.

City Manager Milton Dohoney proposes to lay off 138 members of the police department, but he said the number of officers assigned to neighborhood patrols will not change, and neither will the numbers assigned to each of the five districts."
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Laredo, TX - City asking police, firefighters to wait on raises

KGNS-TV (NBC) LAREDO

"The City of Laredo is asking the firefighter and police unions to wait a couple of months for their pay increases.

The City Manager and a council member say the city doesn't have the money to pay the raises, even though they are in both unions’ contracts.

'Under the current economic conditions unfortunately they will have the opportunity and the privilege of having that pay raise.'"
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Costa Mesa, CA - Police To Take Furloughs

BY ALAN BLANK
DAILY PILOT (NEWPORT BEACH)

"Costa Mesa’s City Council approved a plan Tuesday to put its employees on mandatory furloughs in order to save $3 million over the next year and finalized a program to enhance employee retirement benefits.

The city hopes that by offering employees two extra years of credit toward retirement it can entice enough employees to leave before the end of the year that it can stave off layoffs."
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Monday, August 03, 2009

Vallejo, CA - Brunching With The "Enemy"

BY MARC GARMAN
VALLEJO INDEPENDENT BULLETIN

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