Negotiations between the City of Buffalo and its police department have been ongoing since the union’s contract expired in June 2019. Little progress has been made thus far, but the mediation continued until recently when the police union declared an impasse.
The primary issue holding up negotiations related to training and body cameras. The two sides decided to set aside these issues for the moment and focus on other issues, which allowed the mediation process to continue. The Buffalo mayor is hopeful that the union will return to discussing these issues.
He stated, “We are saying publicly that we want the police union to be a part of these reforms. “It Is important for the public to know right now that the police union is still grieving police officer’s use of body cameras.”
But John Evans, PBA president, does not believe that the union belongs at the negotiating table when it comes to police reforms. He asked, “Do they want us to have less sick days, do they want us to have more vacation days?”
An attorney familiar with the negotiations and experienced in representing employers say that most unions will not participate in these types of reform negotiations. He believes some police unions will decline the option of having a seat at the table because they do not want to be seen as waiving any of their collective bargaining rights. He also does not believe this is how “real reform” will take place. He says that a law requiring body cameras would no longer be a subject of bargaining and it would be “brave collective bargaining reform.”