San Juan police and fire unions worked together on a ballot proposition that would allow them to negotiate for better pay and salaries.
On Saturday, San Juan voters were in favor of that collective bargaining proposition by 67 percent, according to the unofficial results from Hidalgo County Elections Office.
“Collective bargaining–what it does is it allows us a seat with the city and be able to negotiate with the city commission for safer working conditions adequate training and staff for department,” said representative of the San Juan Professional Firefighter Association Lt. Mickey Rojas.
Rojas said police and fire unions have been working to put the proposition on the ballot since the departments became civil service in 2009.
President of San Juan Combined Law Enforcement Agencies of Texas JP Galindo said the collective bargaining will allow officers to negotiate for more police on the streets.
“Right now we are really hurting in man power,” Galindo said. “We are going to ask the city to assist us in giving us more officers. We haven’t had any officers given to us in the past, so we are going to ask us to give us officers so we can boost up manpower in the department and work again to keep the officers of San Juan.”
Galindo said they are providing more educational services, and training to officers to prevent losing them to larger departments.
“As soon as they come in here, they see another opportunity where another department is hiring or a bigger department and they just use us as a stepping stone,” said Galindo. “We invest training in them and we lose out on all that money.”
Other key points that are up for negotiation are pay, benefits, and safer working conditions. The unions must wait for the votes to be canvassed before moving forward and starting negotiations with the city.
Newly elected Mayor Mario Garza was not available for comment, but Galindo and Rojas said they are working with him.
The unions have 120 days to notify the city to start negotiations.