Sergeant: Macon police ready to form union

Macon police say they may have enough support to start a union next month.

One of the organizers, Sgt. Steve Draper, said a majority of the city’s 223 eligible police officers have signed a card showing interest in forming a union.

“We have between 60 and 65 percent of the eligible officers,” Draper said Monday. He declined to give an exact figure, saying that could hurt confidentiality.

Officers and city officials were scheduled to meet Monday night to discuss the union drive.

No vote has been scheduled. Draper said the vote could come in November. If 51 percent of the eligible police officers agree, the union would be formed. But such unions have little power in Georgia because they don’t have collective bargaining and can’t exclusively contract for services.

City Councilman Ed DeFore, who said he’s been a union man for 53 years, said he’d like to change that. DeFore said Monday he wants local legislators to push for the state to allow collective bargaining.

Draper said the union would push for better equipment, better benefits and improved working conditions. Right now, he said, recruits don’t have access to hot showers after they work out, and officers are buying their own paper towels for restrooms.