A ruling from the Missouri Supreme Court will bring the City of Chesterfield to the bargaining table with a union representing its police department.
According to a report by St. Louis Public Radio, the court ruled in a 5-1 decision Nov. 20 that the state constitution imposes on public bodies the duty to bargain with its employees with the intent of reaching an agreement.
At issue was the move by a majority of police officers and sergeants in University City and Chesterfield to let the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 15 be their exclusive representative. However, the city declined to recognize the union's representative status and engage in collective bargaining.
Chesterfield Mayor Bruce Geiger said the city had not wanted a "third party" to get between the police officers and their employer. However, in light of the ruling, Geiger said the city is ready to negotiate and has assembled a team that includes City Manager Michael Herring and City Attorney Rob Heggie.
"We are willing to sit down and we are ready to meet with the Fraternal Order of Police," he said.
Geiger also said that from his perspective, the city already provides very good benefits and a great working environment, so collective bargaining wasn't necessary.
St. Louis Public Radio quoted Gregory Kloeppel, an attorney with the Fraternal Order of Police, who said he is looking forward to sitting down with the city's representatives so that its officers can "have a say in how the department will be run."