DENVER (CBS4) – CBS4 has learned that negotiations for a new contract for Denver police officers have fallen apart with no deal reached, leading to binding arbitration which began Tuesday and is expected to last into next week.
“We’re not going to comment on the status of negotiations or the position of the parties,” said Denver City Attorney Doug Friednash, who declined to provide any details on why drawn out talks between the city and police representatives failed. The president of the Denver Police Protective Association did not return calls made by CBS4.
The current contract between Denver police and the city expires on Dec. 31.
Three sources familiar with the negotiations tell CBS4 that after weeks of discussions between representatives for the city and the DPPA the two sides could not agree on a new deal. None of the sources were authorized to speak publicly about the collective bargaining discussions.
One contact said the two sides were eyeing a multi-year deal for Denver’s nearly 1,500 uniformed officers, but disagreements arose over potential raises along with seniority issues and work hours. The source says that police negotiators were asking for a raise in at least one of the years of the new deal.
Unable to cobble together a new collective bargaining agreement, an independent arbitrator began hearing from both sides this week. That arbitrator will listen to arguments from both sides and decide which proposal will be accepted as the new contract between the city and police. The arbitrator’s decision will be final and cannot be disputed or appealed.
While police were angling for a raise, it’s no secret that the city has been looking for cuts. The city has said it faces a $94 million budget shortfall next year and an ongoing structural deficit of about $30 million per year.
Denver firefighters agreed to accept $6 million in cuts over the next three years during their recent contract negotiations. The firefighters union agreed to no raises next year and 1 percent raises in 2014 and 2015. They also agreed to give up their $550 per employee uniform cleaning and maintenance allowance for 2013 and 2014.
But police negotiations have proved more problematic leading to a breakdown and the binding arbitration process.
– Written by Brian Maass for CBSDenver.com