After two years of unsuccessful negotiations, the Redmond City Council has passed a contract for about 30 civilian Police Department employees...
After two years of unsuccessful negotiations, the Redmond City Council has passed a contract for about 30 civilian Police Department employees, including dispatchers and records clerks, without the police union’s approval.
City officials and the Redmond Police Association had been negotiating since a contract expired at the end of 2002. They went into mediation twice, but the mediator declared an impasse in November and, under state law, the city then was allowed to pass a contract without an agreement from the union.
“It’s not the ideal, and we made every attempt to settle this contract with the union,” said Kerry Sievers, Redmond’s human-resources director.
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But the union president said the move represents the city’s “unwillingness to bargain in good faith.”
“It’s completely unfair. … It’s just insulting,” union President J.R. Lipana, a Redmond police officer, said.
The union recently had agreed on two major sticking points, switching to a merit-based pay schedule and paying for a share of health insurance for their dependents. But the city and union were still far apart on the size of a cost-of-living raise, and the contract approved Tuesday includes the city’s “last, best” offer, Sievers said.
Lipana said negotiations were unbalanced because the city knew it eventually could pass the contract without union approval.
Under state law, the city could impose the contract a year after the previous contract expired if a mediator declared an impasse.
The employees have no recourse and must accept the contract, Lipana said. The department’s commissioned police officers are covered by a separate contract and are not affected by the decision.
“Unfortunately … there is no next step,” Lipana said. “I feel so bad for these people because this is it.”
Ashley Bach: 206-464-2567 or firstname.lastname@example.org