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April 29, 2009 > Union City City Council

Union City City Council

Tuesday, April 21

On Tuesday, April 21, 2009, the Union City City Council held a special, closed session meeting in response to the impasse declared by the Union City Police Officers Association (POA), a strategic decision turned landmark move considering it is the only bargaining alliance in Union City's recent history to employ such a drastic measure. Subsequently, council members were relieved of having to enforce what would have become the city's first council-imposed contract.

"The City's Last best and Final Offer," was the matter-of-fact title of the proposal shared via a PowerPoint narrated by Deputy City Manager, Tony Acosta. POA President, Mike Mahaney said that after having spoken with city staff it was apparent that miscommunication played a role in the stalemate, recommending further communication in future hearings. Elected to his position over a year ago, making him an eyewitness to the "progression of negotiations," Mahaney introduced a timeline to the council to clarify how "we got to this point."

"I feel that, from the POA's standpoint, we have tried to work with the city throughout the entire process, we've been receptive and had pretty good communications with [the city]" Mahaney explained.

"If, in fact, the city is willing to continue and meet with us and talk and have a useful dialogue, then we are willing to [cooperate]," Mahaney said before introducing the their Labor Relations Representative, Bud Stone with the POA's own version of a "Last, Best and Final".

Negotiations between the city and the POA originated in March 2008 but were brought to a slow crawl earlier this year during mediation when, Stone explained, several components of the city's final contract proposal required amending in order to satisfy the needs and demands of the police officers' collective.

According to Stone, the POA impasse was declared in part to a misunderstanding when presented with the city's last offer during mediation. "Our thought was I guess we're done...if the city doesn't want to talk...why should we waste everyone's time in going through another mediation session" Stone stated, adding that they have since realized they may have reacted irrationally.

That said, Stone said that although the POA has its "wish list", it is focusing on three core issues it has with the city's proposal: the city's designation of "acting pay" based on 40 hours instead of "one work-week;" the addition of vacation provisions; and a probationary period of two years for a new hire or a recruit coming directly from police academy rather than industry standards of 18 months.

"We're really not that far apart," Stone acknowledged. "We're just trying to find a way to help our membership a way to get through this as I'm sure you...are doing with your constituents."

As of press time, the council was scheduled to vote on the matter during their next meeting to be held on Tuesday, April 28 meeting, with rank-and-file members of the police union expected to vote shortly thereafter

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