Police and Fire Bargaining Unit Heads into Arbitration with City of Camanche, Iowa
For the first time in its history, the city of Camanche, Iowa will be heading into arbitration over the new contract between it and its police and fire departments. The departments, represented dually by a “bargaining unit,” and the city had been engaged in mediation, which has resulted in new contract agreements in the past. However, representatives of the police and fire departments have stated that there were simply too many areas of disagreement between the two sides this time around, and arbitration has been deemed necessary.
Negotiations may continue outside of the arbitration process and any agreement reached before the conclusion of arbitration will end the process. However, most people involved expect it to be necessary for arbitration to render a decision in order to see the contract dispute resolved. The fire and police departments have been seeking a new three-year contract that raised wages by 5% over the course of the contract.
The Iowa Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) will submit a list of qualified arbitrators to both the city and the bargaining unit. Each side will take turns eliminating one arbitrator from the list, with the last name standing being the arbitrator on the dispute. Then each side will submit their final contract terms. It’s widely expected that the bargaining unit will modify its demands in hopes of securing an arbitration win, which leaves the city little motivation to negotiate in the meantime despite the possibility of avoiding the arbitration process.