Poplar Bluff police officers Union petition stops, will be filed again

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The petition for a union to represent Poplar Bluff police officers has been withdrawn in favor of pursuing a state option.

A new state law which takes effect Aug. 28 will allow commissioned officers to pursue a union through the state board of mediation, said union representative Mark Baker with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 702.

The union withdrew their petition Monday after determining they were unlikely to reach an agreement with the city before the new law takes effect, Baker said. The union now plans to present a new petition Aug. 28.

House Bill 1413 allows the state board to oversee union organization by commissioned law officers for the first time, Baker said.

Following the new petition, Baker expects discussions between the union, city and state board to determine what the bargaining unit will look like. The city had contested the inclusion of captains, lieutenants, sergeants and corporals under the previous petition.

Once a the unit is determined, the union would like to have an election as soon as possible, but it make take until October or November to complete the steps necessary for this, Baker said.

The council and city want what is best for all departments, said city manager Mark Massingham.

"We will work with the police department with or without union representation," Massingham said today. "As everyone is aware, the last few years have been rough financially. Hopefully that will change soon."

A group of dispatchers voted earlier this month to organize with IBEW. The dispatcher union is waiting on certification of the votes before contract negotiations begin, Baker said. Certification is expected any day, he said. Of the seven dispatchers, five voted. Four were in favor of the union.

The dispatchers are in a separate union because commissioned officers were not covered by the state board at the time of their vote.

IBEW also represents employees with Municipal Utilities.

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