If the city and the police are unable to reach an agreement on the union plan, both parties can ask for conciliation. If mediation fails to resolve our disputes, each party may again escalate and request a binding arbitration procedure. Paying the Hat Medicine police more than the Toronto police hurts us because we do not have the same purchasing power as Toronto. The cost of living is cheaper in Medicine Hat, so work is cheaper – it`s one of the main competitive advantages of small towns. The Calgary Police Service (CPS) provides compensation information to balance the transparency of citizens with the privacy of employees. Compensation for sworn police officers and civilian employees is consistent with the City of Calgary`s compensation philosophy, policy, procedures and negotiated collective agreements. Bruce J.A. found that arbitrators who simply use external wage parity to resolve wage disputes distort the collective bargaining process. Wage parity is a formal term for similarity in wages. In other words, the arbitrator cannot simply say medicine to the police should pay X, because the Toronto police paid X. Here is my understanding of the factors that contribute to a collective police agreement.
But this logic ignores another reality of governments – we can pay more and more. The City of Medicine has can pay any salary we have set, because we can always raise taxes to cover salary increases. We can continue to raise police salaries and taxes until the city is no longer competitive and slowly dies. The negotiation process does not seem to take into account the fact that different municipalities have different payment capacities. Medicine Hat and Vancouver, Camrose and Toronto are not the same. The Vancouver Police Union argued that the collective agreement in the nearby city of Delta was not a fair point of comparison. Instead, the union proposed to use Calgary and Edmonton. The police argued that Toronto and other Ontario police forces were better examples than Calgary and Edmonton. Ignoring or minimizing the impact of local economic conditions on police salaries penalizes two groups: small municipalities and metropolitan police officers. The first thing that strikes is the similarity of wages across the country. Lacombe, with a population of 13,000, pays its municipal police roughly at the level of wages in Canada`s largest cities. The hat medicine police are paid more than the Toronto police.
It should be noted that the police are designated as an essential service. This weakens a union by removing its most powerful bargaining instrument – its ability to strike. So we have to be particularly careful with our relationship. The arbitrator will try to counter a fair and reasonable agreement. The definition of what is „fair and reasonable“ begins with the consideration of other collective agreements in the same sector and geography to be used as comparators.