Police and fire unions battle for binding arbitration
April 23, 2011
In response to a San Luis Obispo City Council vote to revisit the issue of binding arbitration, the city’s fire and police unions sent out a glossy brochure defending binding arbitration and their retirement packages. [Tribune]
The pamphlet titled “We’re All In This Together” along with a website found at www.slotruth.org contend that binding arbitration is important for public safety. The mandate resulted in public safety employees receiving a 30 percent raise in 2008.
Binding arbitration, voted in by the public in 2000, entitles safety worker’s unions to bring in a third party negotiator if labor talks are at an impasse. The city and the unions are then required to abide by the negotiator’s decision.
If the council votes to conduct a mail-in only election tentatively scheduled for August, a majority of voters would have to approve the mandates elimination.
On May 17, the council is slated to vote on an election date.
City officials contend the August election would cost $81,660 while the safety workers’ website says the election “could cost more than $106,000 while undermining SLO’s public safety.”