Friday Must Read: Oakland Cops Union Ok’s Pact; But Could All the Union Deals be in Trouble?

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland police union overwhelming approved its new contract with the city, a pact that calls for cops to pay 9 percent of their pensions for the first time, the Trib and Chron report. The deal also delays a guaranteed 4 percent raise that the cops received from an arbitrator until July 2014. In exchange, the city council has agreed to not furlough or lay off officers — although the city has no plans for layoffs, since the police force is already at historically low levels. In fact, last week the council agreed to rehire at least 22 cops who were laid off last year.

2. But is the cops’ new contract, along with all of the other deals with Oakland’s public-employee unions, in trouble? Chuck Garcia, head of the Oakland firefighters’ union told the Tribune that he’s worried that his union’s rank-and-file might not approve the tentative deal he struck with the city. It calls for firefighters to take 9 percent pay cuts. “I’m really nervous about this vote,” Garcia said. “The union leadership believes this is what we have to do. The membership, for some reason, they do not trust the city at all. They think that our protections in the contract aren’t going to be real protections. They think that no matter what, we’re going to have layoffs.” If the firefighters’ union refuses to endorse its pact with the city, it could void all of the other union deals — including the one with the cops’ union. The reason is that all of the pacts have “me-too” clauses that require each union to make approximately the same concessions. And so if the firefighters refuse, all of the deals may unravel, which could force the council to make drastic budget cuts in the coming weeks.

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