Police officers in Montgomery County, Md., are upset over the outcome of a vote limiting the rights of their union.
The county council voted today to change what is known as "effects bargaining." Previously, it required managers to negotiate with the police union on decisions regarding equipment, scheduling and officer transfers. Now, the police chief is allowed to make those changes without input from the union.
"Management has rights in the law, and employees have rights in the law. I'm the only agency director that has to bargain anytime that I exercise a management right," Police Chief Thomas Manger said.
"It has resulted, in my view, in diminshed effectiveness of some of the initiatives we've tried to put forward, " Manger added. "It has delayed our ability to do things in a timely manner."
But union officials aren't happy with the change. Fraternal Order of Police President Marc Zifcak said the loss of effects bargaining could hurt morale.
"It is arguably the reason we have such an exceptional police department, by insuring the participation of those who perform the work," he said.
Zifcak also said the change wasn't necessary.
"We've had this law for 29 years and there isn't a problem," Zifcak said. "We're being asked to justify why we shouldn't make a change when they have yet to justify why they should."
Issues like salary, benefits and working conditions would not be impacted by the amendment.
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