Port Arthur City and Police Force Request Binding Arbitration
Wednesday, June, 29, 2016
Following months of negotiations between the Port Arthur Police Association and the city that resulted in an impasse, both have requested binding arbitration. The association’s attorney submitted written notice for the request on May 27th to the city manager and the city’s attorney. It has been nearly a year since the association operated under an active contract.
The association blames the city for refusing or being unable to find a date to bargain from the beginning of April through mid-May. They offered alternate dates, none of which were accepted. The association also contends it made proposals to the city on all of the contested issues, but the city offered no proposals. The association called city representatives “woefully unprepared to negotiate.”
The association’s president, a Port Arthur Police Sergeant, deferred all questions presented to him to the association’s attorney, Craig Deats of Deats, Durst and Owen LLC, but reporters have not heard back.
An attorney from the city’s law firm said the two parties recently negotiated for one and a half days over 46 articles in the contract. The attorney reported there was tentative agreement on 31 of the issues, and further reported being pleased with the progress. He said the city plans to continue negotiations.
The police association, on the other hand, believes the city is dragging its feet and not happy with the progress. They point out the two main issues in the negotiations – Maintenance of Standards, which requires existing conditions of employment be continued during the new contract, and the Evergreen clauses. The Evergreen clause has caused a lawsuit to be filed.