The decision undermines the position of the mayor, the supervisors, and many of the city's communities, who have been frustrated by the Police Officers Association and its constant resistance to reasonable changes in department policies. But none of the city's elected leaders had any say in the final deal. [...]
The issue involves the concept of "meet and confer," which is in state labor law. Under union contracts, when management imposes changes to work rules, they have to give the union a chance to respond, and if necessary, challenge those changes.
Which is fair.
But the POA considers reforms in things like the Use of Force Policy to be issues that the city has to meet and confer over -- and that's a stretch at best. Those policies aren't work rules (like hours in a shift); they're life-and-death rules that are in the discretion of civilian policy makers. And the POA has consistently used "meet and confer" to delay or derail reforms.
In fact, the POA has argued that it has the right to demand arbitration over policy changes that have been outlined by the Obama-era Justice Department as best practices for the city.
The background, of course, is the long list of people, mostly young people of color, shot and killed by the SF cops over the past few years. Those killings forced the city to ask the Justice Department to come in and review what was happening at SFPD.
An arbitration panel has decided that the San Francisco cops don't have to back off from their efforts to delay or block reforms and will get a nine percent raise anyway.