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NCJ Number: 97887 Find in a Library
Title: Forced Arbitration - Why Cities Worry (From Police Management Today, P 171-180, 1985, James J Fyfe, ed. - See NCJ-97876)
Corporate Author: League of California Cities
United States of America
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: International City/County Management Assoc
Washington, DC 20002
League of California Cities
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Sale Source: International City/County Management Assoc
777 North Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The experiences of six California cities with forced arbitration illustrate the administrative and fiscal problems that can arise when control over a major portion of the city's budget is surrendered to a nonelected third party, the arbitrator.
Abstract: Forced binding arbitration in Oakland has forced the city to accept decisions that have destroyed their budget planning and stymied management changes aimed at reducing overall costs of public services to taxpayers. Specifically, the city's pay scales were upset when the arbitrator awarded firefighters a larger pay increase than given to other city employees and stopped city plans to eliminate 36 fire department positions. The arbitrator also reduced the firefighters' work week and ordered the city to pay them time and a half for overtime, increase the uniform allowance, and contribute more to the firefighters' health plan. Alameda has limited arbitration to economic issues and required that, if an arbitrator grants an award exceeding what the council has budgeted, additional funds must be raised through a vote of the people. As the result of forced arbitration, Palo Alto has seen personnel costs for police and fire services rise beyond what the city felt was proper. Moreover, awards relating to pensions have forced the city to accept unknown costs that will be a burden in the future. Vallejo enacted forced arbitration in 1970, and now arbitration has largely replaced the bargaining process. Instead of agreeing to automatic cost of living raises, the city must negotiate contracts that include salary reopeners each year. Firefighters' use of arbitration in Hayward not only has cost the city money, but also has distorted salary negotiations with other city employees, especially the police. San Jose enacted its arbitration requirements in 1980 and so far has not experienced an arbitrated contract award. The threat of arbitration, however, has tended to force more protracted discussions on lesser issues and made the city alter its bargaining mode.
Index Term(s): Arbitration; California; Collective bargaining; Firefighters; Labor relations; Local government; Police agencies; Police unions
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