Another reason why local economic conditions might not be reflected in police salaries is the distinction between a municipality`s reluctance to pay and insolvency. That is an important distinction. A city has far more power than a union, since the city council controls the budget. However, we cannot simply justify by the budget why we can no longer pay. This principle is expressed in another arbitration, the Hamilton Police Services Board and the Hamilton Police Association 2002. Arbitrator Kenneth Swan wrote that a city council cannot control arbitration simply through a budget procedure. Our budget is one factor, but it does not surpass all other considerations about what a fair wage is. In other words, city council cannot simply say, “We cannot afford to pay you.” These are difficult discussions because the police are indispensable to a community. It`s tempting to say that the police are worth every amount, given what they put at stake every day.
But this is an unrealistic position. Politicians must always balance competing values. My job is to have difficult conversations with respect. Ignoring or minimizing the impact of local economic conditions on police salaries penalizes two groups: small municipalities and metropolitan police officers. The Vancouver Police Union, which represents more than 1450 police officers, prison guards and special constables of the Vancouver Police Service, is committed to protecting and promoting the interests of our members while serving the citizens of our community 24/7. Salaries for each year are not readily available, as collective agreements start and end at different times. Because of the complexity of the bargaining process, police often work beyond the end of a collective agreement. Citations for this publicly available information are available at the end of the column. It is always preferable for the city and the police union to reach an agreement without arbitrators, but it is useful to understand how arbitration procedures work in order to better inform the public about the types of balances and compromises to be expected. Finally, compulsory arbitration is the hammer that hangs over any collective bargaining. The arbitrator will attempt to respond to a fair and reasonable agreement.
Determining what is “fair and reasonable” begins with the study of other collective agreements concluded in the same sector and in the same geographical areas to be used as comparators. .