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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Police Union Asks to Become Defendant in Federal Suit Against Portland Police

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Wed, Dec 19, 2012 at 9:44 AM

Originally posted at 8:11 PM yesterday, but moved up in case you missed it:

A day after the US Department of Justice formally filed suit against the city of Portland—an expected step in the implementation of a wide-ranging settlement over the mistreatment of the mentally ill by the Portland Police Bureau—the Portland Police Association today filed dozens of pages of legal documents (PDF) demanding a voice in the process as a defendant alongside the city.

As part of this action, the United States and the City have entered into a proposed settlement agreement that would materially alter the PPA's collective bargaining agreement and state law collective bargaining rights. Indeed, in their 77-page settlement agreement, the United States and the City have agreed to sweeping changes to Portland Police Bureau standards, policies, and procedures that significantly undermine the collective bargaining rights of the PPA and its members. The liberal standards of intervention... provide the PPA with the right to intervene in this action.

And, yes, as I wrote in a recent Hall Monitor, the union isn't happy it was kept from negotiations between Mayor Sam Adams' office, the police bureau, and the Department of Justice. The union cites a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in which the Los Angeles Protective Police League was given a seat at the table before a consent decree was signed.

More from the filings submitted to US District Court Judge Michael Simon by PPA counsel Anil Karia:

The PPA is not a party to the Settlement Agreement, and was excluded from the negotiations that resulted in the Settlement Agreement....

As more fully explained below, the Settlement Agreement requires the City to implement changes that violate the collective bargaining agreement between the PPA and the City. The Settlement Agreement also alters terms and conditions of employment without requiring the City to bargain in good faith with the PPA over those mandatorily negotiable bargaining subjects.

The court documents also reveal the PPA has filed a bargaining grievance against the city over the settlement, accusing it of violating state collective bargaining law by "knowingly, willfully, and in bad faith" changing "mandatory bargaining subjects without first coming to agreement with the PPA." The filings include a lengthy matrix showing, as Karia sees it, how several provisions in the settlement approved by the city violate the PPA contract. By lengthy, I mean several pages.

Karia, in the grievance, asks the city to hold off implementing any reforms until coming to an agreement with the PPA.

Stay tuned for updates.

Update 8:37 PM: Here's the grievance (PDF), submitted by the PPA on November 27, including correspondence it sent to the city as early as October 22 demanding more information about the new Crisis Intervention units and training proposed as part of the federal settlement.

Update 8:43 PM: JoAnn Hardesty, former state lawmaker and a member of the steering committee of the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform, has told activists opposing the settlement that Judge Simon will hold a hearing at 9:30 Friday morning on how to handle legal challenges and community requests for a hearing on the settlement.

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