Phoenix Officials Tweak Labor Contracts to Comply with Court Ruling on Release Time

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"They're giving a windfall of vacation time to police officers, who will in turn be able to gift it to the unions to reinstate release time," Bolick says. He added that the judge who heard the case already rejected the argument that the release time was part of the employees compensation package.

Cindy Bezaury, the city's assistant human resources director and labor relations administrator, says that Phoenix has a contractual obligation with the labor groups which grants release time hours to them that were charged against their total compensation package.

"Those hours were taken out of what employees could have received in other employee benefits," she says.

She adds, responding Bolick's comments, that the 6.5 hours each police officer will receive is hardly a windfall. (The city calculated that 15,799 hours represent the amount of unused release time in the PLEA contract. That, divided among the 2,413 police employees, is how they arrive at the 6.5-hour figure.)

In her ruling, Judge Cooper pointed out that the release time is negotiated in the section of the contract titled, "Rights of Association," and wasn't included as part of the employees' compensation.

"The [contract] does not require the City to increase officer salary if release time is enjoined or removed," the judge writes in her court ruling. "Each item of the MOU is negotiated individually, not as a total package offered to [PLEA] with those members being allowed to divide it how they wished."

Negotiations are underway now with the various unions that represent city employees. But the judge ordered the city not to enter into any more contractual agreements involving release time unless they comply with various orders, including:

  • Stating in clear language the public benefits that will be derived from specific duties the unions will perform
  • Union leaders agreeing to reimburse the city for any union business performed on city time that does not directly benefit the city
  • Figure out a way to determine the value of the union activities which the city decides have public benefit and won't be getting reimbursed.
  • Prohibit release time used for lobbying or political activities adverse to the city, unless approved by the city manager

The new deal reached between the city and PLEA and LIUNA takes effect on Monday.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX.

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Since you decided to erase my comment of truth, let me resubmit it.  The City of Phoenix did not "tweak" the labor contracts to comply.  The City of Phoenix has now breached the stipulations of the contracts.  The City is attempting to prevent the union reps from doing their required duties, which was part of the agreement within the contracts.  These duties include preventing the city from taking away the real city workers pensions, which the frauds eventually want to do.  The City is adamant to take away from the people that actually provide the services to the City of Phoenix residents, the workers that are actually working.  Management and Executives at the City would be unaffected by the so called anti-pension spiking bill they want to become law.  These are the people that figure out new ways to burn taxpayer money over golf outings, expensive "business" lunches and trips, while they whip around in their taxpayer funded vehicles and receive taxpayer funded housing money to go with their inflated salaries, and are the real pension spikers.  The regular, non management, non-executive employees, who are already limited on how much vacation and sick leave time they can cash out or contribute toward their pension, are the only ones that are going to be affected.  The real workers are not spiking their pensions, they are not living the life of luxury now and won't be in retirement either.  The union reps have a right to protect the workers, the city signed the contracts in agreement.  The regular workers have the right to earn a living, this is not Walmart.  These are people that keep our city running day in and day out.  They are experienced and carry out their jobs in a professional manner.  When the citizenry mistakingly votes this so called anti-pension spiking into law, the executives and management will be unaffected and will continue to be able to spike their pensions, while giving a Cavazos like explanation that they earned it.  Shame on you all.

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