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San Jose Wins Arbitration Battle Against Police Union

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A San Jose Police patrol car. (CBS)

A San Jose Police patrol car. (CBS)

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SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The City of San Jose has won its arbitration battle against its police union.

On Thursday, retired judge John A. Flaherty formally declined to restore the 10% cut in wages imposed on police officers in 2011, as San Jose was struggling to balance its budget.

This was the first time San Jose engaged in binding arbitration to settle a wage dispute. In 2010, San Jose voters approved Measure V, which forces both sides of a bargaining dispute into binding arbitration. Such was the present case, when San Jose and the Police Officers Association couldn’t come to terms on restoring the trimmed wages and possible additional raises and benefits.

Flaherty actually reached his decision on July 1, but it was kept confidential to allow the city and POA to continue negotiations in a last-ditch effort to reach an agreement.

But, it became clear that would not be the case, and Flaherty’s decision became public on Thursday. Flaherty said officers would get no pay raise, and trimmed wages would not be restored.

Mayor Chuck Reed told KCBS that the city’s last wage increase offer, which was made at the negotiation table, still stands.

“We’ve offered 2.5% to the cops plus a 4% bonus and possibly another 2% in the following year if things go well.”

“We’ve made it very clear that getting the 10% back is the first step in stemming the tide of this exodus,” countered POA president Jim Unland, hinting that officers were leaving in droves because of the lack of substantial pay increases.

“What it comes down to is a loyalty to my family, being able to provide for them financially, now and in the future. And at this point I don’t see that happening here,” added officer Juan Vallejo, a ten year veteran of SJPD, who admitted to launching a search for another job elsewhere.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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