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.”

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Law Enforcement and Fire Fighting personnel be aware: We are coming after your unions, all of them. When we are done, you will be independent employees who will be judged on your individual merits. You will no longer have the unions to protect you when you shoot a citizen who is threatening you with a stick. You will no longer be allowed to carry portable electronic torture devices. We will no longer be held hostage by your threats.

So please, ramp up your rhetoric. Show your true colors. You’re doing everything you can to help us in our cause and I think that’s just fantastic.

Oh I should also mention that you may want to consider reducing your expenses now, because your pay is going to be slashed, dramatically.

My crystal ball says the unions are going to fall flat on this one.

A more sensible course for them is NOT to deny the inevitable, but to find some way to get out in front of it, and turn their nightmare into some good press.

My point: They are going to lose binding arbitration. Rather than look like spoiled whiny thugs, they could put some positive spin on it and save their rancor for a battle they stand a chance of winning.

They look like spoiled whiny thugs, because they ARE spoiled whiny thugs.

Okay, boys and girls, this is part of the problem. We hire an arbitrator who looks around at the other salaries for the job… and guess what… they find reasons to raise their salaries. There is absolutely no checks and balances in this system.

By the way, did you receive the expensive flier from SLO and see the enormous fee ( read: tax) increase in water and sewer in San Luis Obispo that is going to be phased in? This is another example of our local can’t-make-the-tough-call elected officials failing to make the cuts necessary to get us back in the black. I laughed when they said that the reason for the drop in water and sewer revenue is because of the great job the citizens were doing ‘conserving’… I guess they haven’t walked around and seen the huge number of for sale and for rent signs.

Anyone can live on a bigger salary… it takes ingenuity to live on less. BTW, I am finishing a piece on this subject.


The unions claim eliminating binding arbitration will harm public safety? What a load of crap. The unions will harm public safety by striking or “slowing down” if they don’t get their childish ways. Binding arbitration neither promotes nor harms safety – people do. What a bunch of whining children.

Realizing the link I am posting has little to do with the article, I felt it a good source of information for us all to ponder when we think about how our taxdollars, be it local, state, or federal, are spent:


Seems were were all taken by both state and federal on this one! OUCH!

“As adjutant general of the Guard, Maj. Gen. William H. Wade II earned an annual state salary of more than $200,000. Wade, now a deputy chief of staff for NATO’s Joint Forces Command in Italy, on average claimed $50,000 extra in federal pay each year. It raised his total earnings above $1 million during his 4 1/2-year California tenure that ended in 2010 – far more than any elected state official, including the governor’s salary”

Andrew Carter has, for all intent and purposes, emerged as the de facto mayor of San Luis Obispo. He is the one showing true leadership on the city budget battle while Jan One-Term-Mayor Marx can only sit there and pout.

Carter will be mayor come 2012 once he gets this ballot proposal passed — as it should be.

Have you seen this brochure the unions sent out — the one with the BLACK FIREFIGHTER on the front? Has San Luis Obispo EVER had a black firefighter??? Yeah, right. Too funny.