[Vision2020] Council wont hear police union request

Tom Ivie the_ivies3 at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 25 16:27:32 PDT 2006

What is the problem with allowing the police to unionize?  It's not like the law will allow them to strike, so let them unionize already.  

Tom Ivie <the_ivies3 at yahoo.com> wrote:    Council won’t hear police union request 

By Omie Drawhorn Daily News staff writer 
Published: 04-25-2006 

Moscow police want a union. That’s nothing new. 
  City officials don’t want them to have it. That also is nothing new. 
  After numerous attempts the police department is appealing once again to the City Council to recognize its union. High turnover, the pay for performance plan, insurance benefits and communication with the city are ! the officers’ main concerns. 
  Police thought this week they were close to finally realizing their goal, but members of the Moscow Administrative Committee think they can address officers’ concerns without a union. The committee voted 2-1 Monday not to forward to the full council a formal request that the city recognize the Moscow Police Protective Association as a union. 
  Members of the Moscow Police Department unanimously support forming a police union, said Lieutenant Dave Lehmitz. But Administrative Committee members Linda Pall and John Weber on Monday rejected the request. 
  Councilman Aaron Ament voted in favor of the union. 
  “We’re a bunch of cops,” said Cpl. Art Lindquist of the Moscow Police Department. “We’re doing our best to negotiate, but this is out of our league.” 
  A union would provide the department with a permanent professional voice and a way to address grievances. “We want to be team players, we want this to work and we’re interested in seein! g what can be created,” Lindquist said. “But we’re looking for a permanent fix, we’re looking to the future.” 
  Lindquist said there are no guarantees how future councils would respond, no matter how the present council might handle business. 
  Mayor Nancy Chaney has had multiple conversations with the police department over the past few months and talked with police departments in Washington and Idaho looking for solutions. 
  Chaney joined the Administrative Committee on Monday to address compensation, benefits and contractual agreements as about 10 police officers observed from the audience. 
  Chaney proposed a return to the step and grade pay scale for officers with a 3.5 percent pay raise after each step and an increase in dependents’ medical benefits. 
  She also suggested getting rid of the department’s at-will employment policy in which employees can be fired at any time for any reason. 
  Ament was not satisfied. 
  “That’s not enough,” he said. “The police have asked for a union, that’s what we’re dealing with. Let’s have an up or down vote on whether or not we want a union.” 
  Weber disagreed. 
  “What we have is working quite well,” he said. 
  Pall called for finding common ground amid the structure already in place. “We’re hoping to accommodate all you want without collective bargaining,” she said. 
  Ament said the existing system cannot address the problems. 
  “If it could we wouldn’t be here right now,” he said. 
  City! Attorney Randy Fife said council members will have to decide how much power they are willing to give up if they allow a police union. 
  “I don’t love power so much that I couldn’t deal with a union to set their pay,” Ament said. 
  Chaney said she feared other city employees might follow suit and form their own unions, which would take the power out of the hands of the City Council — which in turn would take power away from the taxpayers. 
  Lindquist asked if professional representation was in the cards. 
  “The closer you get to professional representation, the closer you get to collective bargaining and a union,” City Supervisor Gary Riedner said. 
  Ament refused to listen to suggestions if unionizing wasn’t part of the picture. “I’m not hearing the word ‘union,’ ” he said. 
  Omie Drawhorn can be reached at (208) 882-5561, ext. 234, or by e-mail at odrawhorn at dnews.com. 
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