Back in July, one week after the resignation of Seattle Police Officers Guild president Ron Smith and one day after the guild rejected a new contract offer, Mayor Ed Murray threatened to “immediately move” to binding arbitration with the city’s largest police union if a labor agreement could not be reached.
The move would have brought in an outside arbitrator to settle disputed terms and force an agreement.
But more than two months later, with the negotiations dragging into their twenty-first month, the city and union remain in mediation, negotiating with one another.
In a letter obtained by The Stranger through a public records request, Mayor Ed Murray wrote to the new head of the police guild, Kevin Stuckey, on July 22:
“We cannot continue to operate under a collective bargaining agreement that restricts the ability of the Department and the City to make needed improvements to our operations and accountability processes… One way or another, reform is going to happen. While I remain hopeful that such changes can be achieved at the bargaining table, the city is fully committed to immediately move to interest arbitration if that is necessary.”
The city’s police officers—SPOG’s members—had overwhelmingly voted down the city’s contract proposal one day prior. The vote was 823 to 156, according to a report from Q13 Fox.