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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Police Union Boss Excoriates SEIU -- Says Cops' Wage Concessions Deal Won't Be Altered

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2009 at 7:30 AM

Gary Delagnes
  • Gary Delagnes
When the SEIU dropped a bombshell on the city's budget last week -- while riding that bombshell, Slim Pickens-style -- observers wondered if it would induce an ill-timed tsunami of churlishness among city unions. After all, if the biggest union in town decides it's not doing wage concessions, maybe the smaller guilds would drop out as well.

Well, the police aren't going anywhere (which is good because they've got guns and are here to protect us). Police Officers Association President Gary Delagnes confirmed that his union will not be seeking to alter the terms of a wage concession deal in which the cops will hand back $16.7 million in deferments and monetary benefits over the next two years. As for the SEIU -- well, here's how Delagnes put that:

"When we [signed our deal], the expectation was that SEIU would try to save their own necks. In my opinion, they've basically picked up a gun and shot themselves in the head," he said of the SEIU Local 1021 -- which stands to lose 1,000 or more city jobs after spurning its negotiating team's wage concession offer. "Personally, from the outside looking in, there's got to be really weak leadership to let that union take that position. They're looking at some pretty serious layoffs. It looks like we did more to save their jobs than they did -- we gave $17 million back to save jobs and it looks like they're just not willing. They're the ones who'll lose their jobs; public safety was never under the threat of layoffs."

Delagnes confirmed that the POA has bristled at calls for give-backs in the past. But that was then and this is now.

"When I sat down with the city and county, they wanted concessions. We've been down this road before. But I believe this economy is different," he said. "We as a union have had good contracts. I went to the members and asked them to defer 2 percent for 18 months and give up some other things. We needed to cooperate. it was the right thing to do and I think it sent a good message to the people.

"We stand by our deal. We're not going back in there. We've signed our deal and we're ready to go."

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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