February 8, 2011

Campus police members call for binding arbitration

A panel of Federation university campus police members urged legislators to pass the union-initiated bill granting them binding arbitration in contract negotiations.

HB 1736 came before the House Labor and Workforce Development Committee.

It’s about fairness, pure and simple, they said.

“What we’re talking about is campus police officers, they are fully commissioned police officers here in the state of Washington,” said Quincy Burns, a detective with the Eastern Washington University police department in Cheney and a member of Local 931.

“They go through the same requirements that every other police officer has to go through to be a certified police officer…..They handle the same type of crimes.”

Administrators often look down their noses at campus police, Burns said. “These officers are not security guards, they’re not security officers,” he said. “They’re commissioned police officers and we’re here asking for the parity of being represented with the rest of our colleagues that put this badge and uniform on.

“This is not a money issue for us. This is about bringing a sense of reasonableness to the table for negotiations.”

Ray Wittmier, a lieutenant with the University of Washington police and a member of Local 1488, said binding arbitration would help speed up negotiations.

“I feel that having the binding arbitration opportunity helps us to get away from that (an ‘us and them’ attitude) and encourages the negotiations to proceed faster,” Wittmier said.

“We just want to negotiate fairly and have parity,” he added.

Western Washington University police officer Josef Bailey echoed Burns and Wittmier.
Binding arbitration will help attract and keep good officers, the Local 1381 member said.
Having interest arbitration will “provide newer officers with the same rights as all the other law enforcement officers within the state currently enjoy,” Bailey said.

Representatives from university managements opposed the bill.

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