Winnipeg's police union has accused Mayor Brian Bowman of meddling in labour negotiations as it joins the ranks of unions asking for outside help to attain a collective bargaining agreement.
Winnipeg Police Association president Moe Sabourin said Tuesday in a statement his union has asked an arbitrator to settle contract talks that have gone sour.
The union, which represents 526 civilian police employees and 1,443 officers in uniform, has been without a contract since Dec. 23. Bargaining began in the fall, but Sabourin claims the mayor has sabotaged the talks.
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"The WPA remains ready and willing to negotiate with the City of Winnipeg in order to reach an agreement which is fair and reasonable for our members, one which reflects the complex challenges our members face while doing a very difficult job. Unfortunately, the City, in a process which has been, in our view, micromanaged from Mayor Bowman's office, is not willing to bargain in a meaningful way," Sabourin said in a statement.
"We have been at the bargaining table for three months now, but it is clear — at least to this point — the mayor is not interested in fair and meaningful discussions. As a result, we have requested the appointment of an interest arbitration panel for the purposes of establishing a new collective agreement."
Bowman said, in a statement, he continues to support the collective bargaining process but did not respond directly to the micro-management accusation.
The mayor stated funding for the police has increased 80 per cent over the past decade "and the 2017 budget provides more funding to the Winnipeg Police Service than any time in the history of Winnipeg."
The police union is not alone in its labour talks. The city is bargaining with unions representing most of its employees, and the talks have yet to yield any deals. The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 500, which represents 5,070 workers, will work with a conciliator to reach a labour deal.
The United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg, which represents 937 employees, and the Winnipeg Association of Public Service Officers, which represents 739 professionals and middle managers, have both applied for arbitration.
The Winnipeg Police Senior Officers' Association, which has 32 members, was waiting for talks with the police union to conclude, according to the city.
The police and firefighters unions cannot strike, but are eligible for binding arbitration.