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Police Collective Bargaining Will Be on Ballot

Maryland Court of Appeals rules in favor of Fraternal Order of Police request.

A referendum on the collective bargaining agreement between Montgomery County Police and the Montgomery County Council will be on the November ballot.

The Maryland Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of a Fraternal Order of Police request to put the issue before the voters.

In July 2011, the Montgomery County Council passed a law that blunted the police union's ability to , such as how officers are given new assignments and how to implement a new computer system used by employees. The law does not affect the right to negotiate for salary and benefits.

Then at the end of June, a Montgomery County judge struck down the FOP's petitition to put the negotiating question on the ballot. The appeals court has overturned that decision.

"Now it will be up to the voters to decide whether the law, unanimously passed by the council, intended to enable the police chief to manage his department effectively will remain in force," Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner said.

The FOP previously said that a change in bargaining powers would disrupt police deparment services.

“When we follow a process we don’t have these problems. Despite what you have been told in the media, this dispute is not about money. It is about process. The FOP was willing to give up $2.4 million in benefits cost for the county. The County Council rejected that and did what they wanted to do," the FOP said on its website.

Theresa Defino August 18, 2012 at 03:42 PM
The law doesn't eliminate the right to organize at all. That's the FOP spin. And I just love this comment by FOP, blaming "the media," as others have said here: "Despite what you have been told in the media, this dispute is not about money." When I was shopping at Giant and asked by an FOP to sign the ballot petition, he told me this was about money and that all bargaining rights were being eliminated. I knew that was a lie and I refused to sign, and told him he was misinformed. You want to know how this got on the ballot? That's how.
Joe Thomas August 18, 2012 at 04:43 PM
You are full of it. The county has continually told the press that the leading issue was "failing to check email daily". Nothing could be further from the truth. What the county won't tell you is that they refused to define a penalty for such trivial matters as checking email. If the county had its way they could fire someone for simply not coming into the station and checking their daily email. The issue is losing the right to bargain for day to day working conditions. The right to bargain for wages was never threatened.
Thomas Paine August 19, 2012 at 07:36 PM
I can't believe this issue is on the ballot - only in Montgomery County. The Chief and supervisors should be able to assign work, and cops should get with the program. There is something seriously wrong when the FOP has cops engaging in the kind of disgraceful, disrespectful, and even threatening conduct they did a few months ago when protesting County Council actions.
Joe Thomas August 19, 2012 at 08:10 PM
For over twenty years the FOP has had the right to bargain for working conditions. Nothing is outrageous. For example years ago an officer might have court on his day off. If he left his house and got to the courthouse and found out that the case had been postponed he would not be paid. Now an officer gets 3 hours overtime. In your business if your employer called you to work on Sunday and then when you got there he said, "woops, you can go home" would you not expect to be paid? The county wanted to take all of those things away.
RobertS August 20, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Labor unions seemed like a reasonable response to the abuses of business owners and managers during the Industrial Revolution, and we have unions to thank for the 5-day work week and other important worker-friendly reforms. As someone who has worked in union workplaces for a while now, I can tell you without malice that unions today are a hugely onerous pain for anyone that has to deal with them, and you will hear this from union members, too. The work rules they strive to protect and enforce are often maddening and completely bereft of common sense or sound judgment. Plus, their benefit packages are going to sink entire states (witness California). What was once a good and reasonable construct has turned into farce. An Alice in Wonderland, "you can't make this stuff up" farce that I wish more people could experience to understand how bad it is. I am eternally grateful for the men and women in blue who keep us safe, and I will also be voting against the FOP because of the inanity of how these "work condition protections" are applied in practice (hint: insanity prevails).

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