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White Plains Moves To Arbitration With Police, Fire Unions

White Plains will go to binding arbitration with the city's police and fire unions to produce contracts.
White Plains will go to binding arbitration with the city's police and fire unions to produce contracts. Photo Credit: www.wppublicsafety.com

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – A panel of arbitrators will decide on a contract for the White Plains police and fire departments after negotiations between their respective unions and the city failed to produce one.

Both departments have been working without a contract since the last one expired in June 2010. Contracts negotiated by an arbitrator can only be two years in length and apply retroactively. Since both departments have been working without contracts for more than two years, they will have to resume talks with the city after arbitration on a contract that brings them up to date, said Joseph Carrier, president of the White Plains Professional Firefighters Local 274.

Arbitration is scheduled to begin in late April, Bryan Hembury, vice president of the White Plains Police Benevolent Association said. A three-person panel will decide on a new contract.

John Callahan, chief of staff for the mayor’s office, said he can’t predict if the two sides will come to an agreement after arbitration but said he hopes they will.

The state had sent a mediator to help the two sides negotiate contracts, but talks failed, requiring binding arbitration, Callahan said.

Carrier would not go into the specifics of what the unions wanted or what the city offered.

The city came to terms on a four-year contract with the CSEA, the county’s largest union, in 2011 that kept wages flat the first year, with two-percent increases the final three years.

“We’ve made certain concessions with the city that we felt would get us to a contract but it just hasn’t worked,” Hembury said. “There just hasn’t been an open line of communication. We’d rather come to a mutual agreement but this is where we are right now.”

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