Days after Los Angeles police union leaders threatened to bar city officials from meeting directly with union members, Mayor Eric Garcetti released a video on YouTube making his case for the city’s latest contract offer directly to officers.
In the short YouTube video, Garcetti lauds Los Angeles Police Department officers for making “sacrifices” in past contracts and says that continued belt-tightening is necessary to restore city services “in a responsible and sustainable way.”
Although the one-year contract offer includes no cost-of-living increase for the city’s 10,000 sworn officers, it erases a 20% pay differential for newly hired officers, Garcetti said. It also allows officers to cash in overtime as they earn it, instead of building up an overtime bank, and it ends forced time off, he said.
In the video, he calls the contract the “right thing to do” for both the city and the police force and urges union members to support it. “Stay safe,” he says in closing, seated in his City Hall office. “It is an honor to serve alongside you as your mayor.”
Last week, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents the officers, said it was filing a grievance barring Chief Charlie Beck, Garcetti and other city leaders from attending roll calls to directly make their case for the contract offer.
After the police union voted to reject the contract last week, Garcetti told a radio news show that he planned to meet with officers directly. Beck also made it clear that he wanted to talk to officers at roll calls and meetings of specialized units, PPL President Tyler Izen said in a statement last week.
But the union argues that direct communications are prohibited by city and state labor law. “City officials are prohibited from communicating with employees concerning subjects of ongoing collective bargaining negotiations,” Izen said in the statement.
Garcetti and the City Council have held a hard line on cost-of-living increases with all of the city unions that have negotiated contracts in the last year.
None have received pay raises as the city seeks to eliminate a chronic imbalance in spending that the mayor argues has hampered its ability provide basic services such as street paving and sidewalk repair.
But in a KNX-AM (1070) radio show last week, callers who identified themselves as LAPD officers said they felt frustrated by the lack of an increase to offset inflation. One caller told Garcetti that he felt “disrespected.”
The contract Garcetti is backing raises pay for new officers from $49,000 to a year to $57,000. Izen in a statement Thursday that the union agreed with that move and the access to overtime cash.
But he suggested the city was not addressing other important issues.
Officers are upset about “low pay, working conditions, [and] a disciplinary system that is viewed as biased and unfair,” Izen said. He continued: “Our officers are not without alternatives; experienced and well-trained officers are desired by police and sheriff departments throughout Southern California and statewide.”