City and Police Clash Over Contract

Police Union Lawsuit

The Omaha mayor’s office says that Police Union Local 101 has filed a lawsuit in District Court asking to extend the current collective bargaining agreement through the end of 2014.

The current contract expired at the end of 2013. The union alleges that the city did not provide, “written notice” of its desire to negotiate for 2014. According to a news release from the mayor’s office, the city believes the union’s position is frivolous because negotiations had already started.

The contract contains a provision by which one party is required to inform the other of its desire to open negotiations prior to April 1. The city’s negotiator met with the union president to begin the negotiation process on February 27, 2014. During the initial meeting, the city says the union president made a specific offer. The city’s negotiators responded to the offer on Marcy 19 with a counter-proposal. Both proposals were debated over the next several weeks.

The city says there is little doubt that, contrary to the union’s assertions in the lawsuit, the negotiations had begun by April 1.

When the city responded to the union’s offer with additional terms the union disliked, the city says the union. “manufactured this technical gotcha argument to avoid the potential consequences of good faith negotiations.”

Mayor Stothert is quoted in the city’s news release as saying, “The police union’s position is a clear indication that the union leadership is afraid to be a partner in badly needed health care and pension reforms.”

The city plans to challenge the union’s claims and, according to the release, “remains committed to addressing health insurance and pension reform immediately.”

The union says the claim of a “technical gotcha argument” is ridiculous saying the city made a mistake and is scrambling to make up for it.

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