MIAMI – An appellate court has ruled that Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez does not have the authority to veto an impasse hearing that has been resolved by the commission.
The county Police Benevolent Association appealed a final order of the Public Employees Relations Commission, concluding that Miami-Dade County committed an unfair labor practice in 2012 when Gimenez vetoed the county commission's decision to reinstate benefits deducted from union employees.
The union argued that labor law does not permit a local executive branch official to veto the legislative body's resolution of an impasse. The PERC said it reversed the final order and remand for further proceedings.
The PBA and Gimenez began negotiations in June 2011 for successor collective bargaining agreements for the rank-and-file and supervisory police officers employed by the county.
By November 2011, the PBA and Gimenez reached agreement on all issues besides whether the bargaining unit employees would be required to contribute an additional percentage of their base wages towards the cost of health insurance, officials said.
The two parties reached an impasse on the issue because Gimenez wanted to continue the additional 5 percent contribution and the PBA opposed any additional contribution, officials said.
The appellate court ruled that the commission decision was a binding one under state law and the mayoral veto constitutes an unfair labor practice.
A representative for the PBA said sanctions, still to be determined, could require back pay to members for the salary contributions they were forced to make after the veto, an estimated $10 million.
A spokesperson for Gimenez said there will be an appeal.
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