Feb 24, 2011 1:36 PM by Bethany Tucker, KSBY News

SLO Firefighters Assoc. says City's vote to put repeal of binding arbitration on ballot is illegal

The San Luis Obispo Firefighters Association Local 3523 says this week's move by the City Council to put a repeal of binding arbitration on the August ballot is illegal.

Binding arbitration is when a third-party arbiter makes the final decision in a labor negotiation dispute between the city and a union. San Luis Obispo voters approved binding arbitration for police and firefighters unions back in 2000.

On Tuesday night, the San Luis Obispo City Council decided 4-1 to give voters the option to repeal binding arbitration this summer. The mail-in election is slated for August.

Thursday morning, The San Luis Obispo Firefighters Association notified the City that the Council's vote, without consulting the City's public safety employees, is illegal.

In a letter from Firefighters' attorney Stuart D. Adams to City Attorney J. Christine Dietrick, Adams says,

"The City cannot make changes to the City Charter via City proposed amendments to Charter provisions which effect terms and conditions of employment without meeting and conferring with Local 3523 and other bargaining unit representatives first...

There has not been a meet and confer with the local, nor has there been a request to do so on these issues."

Adams goes on to say that legal action will be taken on behalf of the Firefighters' Association if the City continues to move forward with the ballot measure.

Stay with KSBY.com and KSBY News for more on this developing story.

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