BEXAR COUNTY (KTSA News) — San Antonio city councilman Manny Pelaez said Tuesday that he does not support the Fix SAPD effort.
In a statement, the councilman said the movement goes against his values of supporting unions and the right for labor to organize. He also said ending collective bargaining for police officers and defunding police departments do not help with reducing abuse of force by police officers.
“American workers’ right to organize and bargain has contributed to the guarantee of stable benefits, fair pay, safe work conditions, increased skills training, and a dignified standard of living for millions of families,” Pelaez said in the statement. “The unintended consequences of Fix SAPD’s campaign runs contrary to concrete and indisputable evidence that America is more resilient when workers’ rights are honored.”
Pelaez said the city deserves a professional police department and evidence has shown that well-negotiated collective bargaining agreements lead to recruiting and retaining high-quality workers.
“Stripping police officers of their right to organize is not the solution to the problem of abuse of power by unscrupulous officers—neither will defunding the police department,” the San Antonio city councilman said. “Cities without collectively bargained labor agreements also struggle with disturbing cases of police misconduct. Similarly, cities with underfunded police departments are also grappling with the cases.
“Employing and funding fewer police officers to answer my neighborhoods’ 911 calls is not the answer. The road towards a solution starts with negotiating a conscientious collective bargaining agreement that adds more transparency and effectiveness to the discipline remedies and strengthens the arbitration dispute resolution procedures.”
A petition organized by Fix SAPD will be presented to the city council to place on the May municipal ballot, which will give voters the opportunity to choose whether San Antonio police officers no longer have collective bargaining rights.
The San Antonio Police Officers Association is challenging the petition drive, as has San Antonio police chief William McManus, saying Fix SAPD has misrepresented the true motive behind the petition and misrepresenting themselves as being connected to the police department.
Fix SAPD has refuted those claims.