PBA and PSOA should make concessions to save police jobs

Dear Editor:
I am writing to urge PBA and PSOA heads Mr. Lombardi and Mr. Drishti to stop the police layoffs. While there are millions in reserves that Hoboken shouldn’t touch, there will be a large sum specifically reserved for officers – two years of retroactive raises – pending contract arbitration. The best use of this reserve is to save jobs.
These raises won’t bring consolation to senior officers when they come at the expense of the younger brothers’ jobs. A lump sum will be cold comfort to officers who lose their job. Instead of forcing the negotiations into mediation, make concessions to save jobs. The PBA and PSOA should follow the example of the teachers union in New York. This summer, the teachers union gave up raises for two years to save 4400 jobs. Aren’t the PBA and PSOA at least as dedicated to the welfare of all their members?
I was very moved during the last council meeting by the stories of the officers whose jobs are being cut. According to all accounts, they are some of the most dedicated and effective officers, able to run down suspects and deeply connected to the community in Hoboken. The state’s audit has made these jobs a luxury for the city, despite its flaws. It is up to Mr. Lombardi and Mr. Drishti to save them.
I’ve heard people say that the union is run for the comfort of insiders and that talk of brotherhood’ is hypocrisy. The way to disprove this is to skip arbitration, offer painful concessions in return for junior officer’s jobs. This may not be how agreements are traditionally reached, but where there is a will to save jobs, there is a way. Prove the naysayers wrong, offer concessions; don’t prove the cynics right with an unwillingness to sacrifice.

David Dening

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