After Council Rejection, Austin's Police Union Will Let Its Labor Contract Expire

Dec 19, 2017

The Austin Police Association says it won’t renegotiate its contract with the city before it expires at the end of the month. After months of negotiation, the Austin City Council voted last week to reject the contract, which dictates pay, discipline and oversight for police officers.

When the contract expires, Austin police officers will be governed by state civil service law, which would do away with proposed pay raises in the contract and jeopardize civilian oversight over the department.

“The association had spent a tremendous amount of money and time bargaining in good faith with city management when the rug was pulled out from underneath us by the city council,” Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday told KUT this morning. 

The union sent a letter Tuesday morning to interim City Manager Elaine Hart outlining its position.

The City of Austin negotiates a contract with the Austin Police Association every few years. Last week, city council members rejected the proposed contract, sending it back to the negotiating table. More than 150 people testified on the contract, many asking for more accountability for officers and transparency from the department.

“We’ve talked a lot about the numbers tonight,” Council Member Alison Alter said last week. “At the end of the night, we have to understand that if our police department is going to be the highest paid then we must also expect the highest level of transparency and accountability.”

The council’s rejection was the first ever since the city started contracting with the police union two decades ago.

Casaday said the union is willing to jumpstart negotiations next year, once the city has a permanent city manager.