Dispute Between City of Lawton, Oklahoma and Police Union in Hands of Arbitrator
Thursday, December, 19, 2013
After nine months of arbitration hearings, the final decision regarding an ongoing dispute between the city of Lawton and its police force is now in the hands of the arbitrator. The main sticking point that caused negotiations to break down and brought the dispute to an arbitrator is the city’s plan to expand the 40-hour work week of the police force from four days a week to five.
The police union opposes the move despite the fact that it would have no effect on wages (although it would affect overtime). They cite the fact that Lawton pays its police force an average of 18% less than the police forces in other nearby municipalities, claiming that having three days off every week enables officers to hold down second jobs that help make ends meet. Expanding the work week to five days would cause many officers to suffer real loss of income as a result.
The city of Lawton, on the other hand, believes the move from 10-hour shifts to 8-hour shifts will not only save on overtime costs, but also improve safety, citing the fact that better-rested officers and more frequent shift changes will result in a more alert and attentive force.
The arbitrator has until January 28, 2014 to render a decision.