Running Head: CITY
July 30, 2012
The relationship between the city management and the unions of Sun Belt City is not at its best. Just recently, the city manager reduced the city budget by bargaining hard for lower salary and less fringe benefits. The city manager was able to renegotiate the contracts by hard bargaining with the unions.
The hard bargaining process included veiled threats of privatization and outsourcing. This indicated to the city employees that if they did not agree to a renegotiation of contract and agreed to longer hours, less fringe benefits and new employees enter at a lower salary, they were basically in danger of being out of work. What worked for the city manager in this process is the threat of the employees being completely out of work and losing their jobs permanently.
In the hard bargaining process with the police officers and the PBA, the city manager should have looked for other alternatives. I believe he should have come to the table ready to bargain in good faith. It does appear when you threaten to outsource something as visibly important as a police officer’s job, it appears you do not have the public’s best interest at heart, and ultimately, you are hired to serve the public and their interests. So by coming to the table with what he would like to see, and trying to bargain things such as benefits, vacation time, tuition reimbursement, etc, the city manager may have had a completely different outcome.
Since he decided instead to threaten a loss of their jobs, he created what may have been unnecessary grief and loss of trust between the PBA and himself. Just because several of the city council members indicated they wanted him to hard bargain does not mean he did not have other options. The bottom line was to lower the budget and renegotiate the contract, and that could look to be accomplished in various ways. The city manager should have looked for...
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