The Fraternal Order of Police asked the D.C. Superior Court yesterday to stop its rival organization, the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, from collecting dues from officers who are not members of the IBPO.
The court action is the latest turn in the FOP's efforts to dislodge the IBPO as the authorized bargaining agent for the city's police officers and show what it says is rank-and-file dissatisfactionwith the contract the IBPO negotiated with the city last month. The contract provides money bonuses in its first two years and a 7 to 9 percent pay increases in the third year.
Some 750 officers have withdrawn from the 2,200-member IBPO over the contract, according to FOP officials. The FOP court papers filed yesterday seek to block the city government from automatically deducting Ibpo union dues from the paychecks of officers who are not now IBPO members. This automatic dues checkoff is one of the provisions of the police officer's new contract.
In a related action, the FOP also filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the District government, alleging it assisted the IBPO in denying police officers the right to refrain from joining a union.
The complaint was filed with the city's Public Employee Relations Board.
Donald Weinberg, chief labor negotiator for the city, said he could not comment on the specifics of either of the FOP actions yesterday. Both city and IBPO officials have aruged in th past that the contract was signed when two-thirds of the officers were still members of the IBPO, and thus it can continue to collect the dues for the entire contract period.
Weinberg also said there is nothing in the D.C. personnel laws that gives the officers the right to opt against an automatic checkoff.
Currently, about 3,000 of the city's police officers -- all those eligible to belong to the IBPO -- are scheduled to pay $5.50 every two weeks in dues. But FOP officials contend about 1,800 officers are not now members of the IBPO.
Contrary to Weinberg's position, FOP attorney Robert Deso said the three-year contract provided for dues checkoff only if two-thirds of the police officers were members of the union at the time the contract became effective, July 15.
He said about 1,100 officers had not been members of the IBPO for some time before the contract was signed and another 400 withdrew just before July 15, meaning that only 56 percent of the officers were members of the IBPO at the time the contract went into effect. Another 350 resigned after July 15, Deso said.
"Basically, what they're doing is ignoring the will of the majority," said D.C. policy officer and FOP official Bob Moseley. "If nothing happens, you're going to have a lot of angry police officers for the next three years."
A hearing on the matter is set in Superior Court for Monday.