Union vote for Macon police set for December

Dates have been set for a vote to determine whether Macon police officers will form a union.

The secret-ballot vote will be held Dec. 3 and Dec. 4, said Jim Romar, a national field representative for the Teamsters’ Law Enforcement League.

The votes will be counted Dec. 4 by two Teamsters union representatives and three or four police officers chosen by their peers, he said.

A location for the vote has not been determined.

Fifty percent of the officers who vote plus one, must vote in favor of the union for the proposal to pass, Romar said.

All officers with the rank of sergeant and below are eligible to vote, he said. The department has about 265 officers who would be eligible to vote.

About 130 officers expressed interest in forming the union by filling out registration cards in September.

Romar said a final count of the cards has not been completed, but should be finished by the time of the vote.

Officers’ main concerns in forming the union are officer safety, officer retention and their effectiveness in the community, Romar said. He said the officers aren’t seeking to gain the power to strike or to rally for tax increases.

Macon’s city attorney has said state law prohibits cities from entering into binding contracts with unions when it comes to terms of employment.

“It’s just to have a voice at the table,” Romar said.

If the union is voted in, Romar said the officers will have the benefit of other police unions’ expertise to help deal with local problems.

The Teamsters’ Law Enforcement League represents about 35,000 police officers in 26 states.

“Whatever’s going on, it’s probably happened somewhere else before,” Romar said.

Information from The Telegraph’s archives was included in this report.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.