UPDATE 4:45 PM: In an 8-1 vote, the Seattle City Council approved ratification Tuesday afternoon.
Committee chair Lorena González said that there is still much to be done to continue reforms at SPD but that she was “proud” to approve the collective bargaining agreement.
She also dismissed criticism that the contract would “roll back” reforms, listing a dozen elements from the new deal that she say represent progress in social justice issues at the department.
Paramount in the deal will be a strong Office of Inspector General and wiping out of the controversial Disciplinary Review Board. González said the inspector’s office will be able to be present at Office of Professional Accountability proceedings and will have access to all OPA files.
“Today, is one of those days where I find myself in the unfortunate position of agreeing with some of the observations made by my friends at the (Community Police Commission) while disagreeing as to others and, fundamentally, disagreeing as to (1) the impact of this contract on our ongoing police reform efforts and (2) the appropriate next step to take to continue making progress on police reform,” González said in a statement issued following the vote. You can read the full statement and the list of 12 accountability reforms from the contract here.
U.S. District Judge James Robart, who is overseeing the Department of Justice consent decree process, will also review the contract to ensure compliance.
The vote followed a more than two hour session of public comment and statements from several council members. Community members including Nikkita Oliver and the Rev. Harriet Waldman spoke to say they supported higher wages for police but could not support the contract. “Voting for this contract will dismantle the work we have been doing for years,” Oliver said. The city has “failed in these negotiations,” Walden said.
A large contingent of community members representing the International District was also on hand to show support for SPD and the new contract.
Original report: The Seattle City Council will vote Tuesday afternoon on a long-awaited, hugely debated six-year deal with the Seattle Police union that would bring much needed wage increases but would also roll back progress on much needed reforms, critics say.
District 3’s Kshama Sawant representing Capitol Hill, the Central District, and surrounding neighborhoods said Tuesday she will continue to oppose the deal. Seven of the nine council members must approve the contract for ratification.
“As a rank-and-file union member myself, I support the wage improvements that are contained in the tentative collective bargaining agreement between the City and [the Seattle Police Officers Guild],” Sawant said in a statement on the pending vote. “I think it is unfortunate that other public service workers, such as educators and EMTs, have not gotten such significant wage increases in this increasingly unaffordable city.”