SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – The collapse of a last-minute deal with the police union on Wednesday means a total of 278 police officers will be laid off.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Ree said the next round of layoffs would take place at the end of June despite the strong prospect those jobs could be saved if the city council insists on arbitration.

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“Unfortunately we’re going to have to lay these officers off and then bring them back,” he said.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Talks between the city and the San Jose Police Officers Union stalled over pensions. Reed has made pension reform a top priority as he pushed for concessions from public employee unions again this year to close a $115 million deficit.

City officials want to reduce retirement benefits for current and future employees. The union said the city can’t reduce officers’ pensions without their consent.

The union and city officials had until Wednesday to present a contract to the City Council, so it could be included in the budget that will be finalized in June.

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“When you’re sitting at the negotiations table and someone’s telling you, you have to have an answer for them by 2 o’clock or else; that’s putting a gun to your head,” said union President George Beattie.

Beattie said they are ready to return to the bargaining table, but Alex Gurza, the city’s director of employee relations, claimed talks broke down after the police demanded the city agree to an optional retirement program they crafted.

“What’s amazing about it is, it’s a program they acknowledge they’re not even sure it meets IRS qualifications,” said Gurza.

San Jose City Councilman Pete Constant, a former cop, said the potential layoffs are unacceptable.

“We cannot afford to let the residents of San Jose suffer and be punished for the inability of the Police Officers Association and the city of San Jose to come to an agreement,”

So far both sides have agreed to 10 percent pay cuts.

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