The Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association protested Mayor Steven Fulop’s fundraiser at Liberty House Restaurant last night, given that they’ve been without a contract for roughly nine months.
“We’re here for several reasons: Number 1, we are working without a contract. The mayor put us into arbitration and he’s allowing a [Gov. Chris] Christie appointee to determine the fate of 700 police officers,” said JCPOBA President Carmine Disbrow.
“I went to the council last week, we asked for the council to intervene, to withdraw the arbitration, to come back to the table, and bargain in good faith. We also have a lot of grievances. We have no police chief for fourth months. We asked at the council meeting, when are we getting a police chief? I got no response from the city.”
Disbrow said given those facts, he and the other 50 or so union officers decided to protest a $500 a plate fundraiser to get Fulop’s attention.
Fulop deferred comment on the situation to his campaign spokeswoman, Hannah Peterson, who said in a text message that the administration supports the department.
“We are thankful for the great work that the Jersey City Police Department has done and we will continue to be a tireless advocate for both the police department and residents.”
Continuing on in the same interview, Disbrow said the JCPOBA has been without a contract for nine months and the city has not taken any sort of good faith measure during that time.
“We’re just looking to be treated fairly. We’ve offered to give back $3 million dollars in raises to protect some of the rights we have in our contract. We were willing to take $3 million dollars less than every other union took. And the administration doesn’t want to hear it, it’s basically a take it or leave it offer.”
When asked to clarify, the union head stated that they were asked to accept lower raises than other unions with, yet they would still have to agree to “more givebacks.”
“One of the bigger issues is the sick policy, where it would affect members of my department who actually have cancer, who have serious illnesses. In our opinion, we’d be penalized for having serious illnesses,” exclaimed Disbrow.
“They’re asking for a lot of workplace rules changes. They’re asking for longevity givebacks for new hires, particularly, we have a predominantly minority department now – and the mayor’s always touting diversity. And now he wants to pay his minority officers less than the white officers that came before them. That’s unacceptable to us.”
Disbrow also claimed that negotiations hit a sticking point shortly after the union showed support for four officers involved in a June 4th police chase that ended in a fiery crash, that brought upon an investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Prior to that, the City of Jersey City suspended four police officers and reassigned two deputy chiefs in response to the incident.
Earlier this month, a grand jury indicted the driver of the vehicle that burst into flames, Leo Pinkston, 48, of Jersey City, on aggravated assault charges, as well as alluding (h/t The Jersey Journal).