San Jose POA Reopens Contract Negotiations for Higher Pay

The San Jose police union quietly asked to reopen contract negotiations this past week in hopes of securing a salary bump for its more than 1,000 officers.

In an Oct. 16 letter uploaded Tuesday to the city’s website, San Jose Police Officers’ Association (POA) President Sgt. Paul Kelly asked local officials to “meet and confer over compensation increases.” The missive addressed to San Jose Director of Employee Relations Jennifer Schembri avails the union of its right to strike up bargaining again after eschewing any changes to the labor agreement after it expired on June 30.

At the time the contract expired this past summer, the city was roiled in protests against police brutality and critical attention over SJPD’s violent response to demonstrators. Meanwhile, the city was staring down the barrel of massive budget deficits because of the pandemic-related economic slowdown.

Kelly notes that the union agreed to continue the existing contract without any pay bumps to give the city “breathing room until greater economic certainty returned.”

While nothing’s yet certain about San Jose’s economic prospects, Sgt. Kelly thought this an opportune time for a bargaining redux.

In his letter, Kelly touts the sacrifice made by officers working on the public safety frontlines during a pandemic, risking their health while many others enjoy the benefits of telecommuting.

Then came the protests, Kelly goes on to state.

In late May through early June, SJPD came under fire for reacting to demonstrations against George Floyd’s killing by tear-gassing protesters and pelting them with rubber bullets. In Kelly’s telling, officers “protected the right of protesters to march.”

“And when some chose to riot in our streets,” he went on to write, “more than 100 of our officers suffered physical injury while protecting the city and its citizens.”

Though a date has yet to be set, the union said it’s ready to strike up negotiations immediately.

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10 Comments

  1. The POA is indefensible and Sgt Kelly is just plain on the wrong side of history. This department is really going to struggle as long as the POA exists. You know when I lost my respect for SJPD? When I started following the POA. We can have community meetings all day long about what we want out of a new chief but this new chief will not be able to institute any common sense reforms with this outdated POA. This is the exact reason why the “Mental Health *Strike* Team” being housed in SJPD concerns me.

    SJ City Council- further, OT is out of control. You have got to have a backbone and push back hard or this department will struggle.

    It’s clear from their record….the POA is continuing to push back on reform to maintain an antiquated and militarized system.

    I’m all for appropriate compensation for our public service employees including teachers, bus drivers, city employees… But accountability matters and the POA will fight to keep their members from leaving their union and heading to another.

  2. In the real world, if we do not feel that we are properly compensated we look for a new job. I suggest San Jose city employees that feel this way do the same.

  3. Perhaps we should go back to the days when Public Employees could not Unionize against the people they serve? No more teachers union, POA, Fire, SEIU, etc.

    We’d probably be better off if we did.

  4. Where are the facts? We’re talking about police salaries here and whether they should be higher yet none are mentioned. How much does a San Jose police officer make and how does that compare with other jobs with similar requirements – the Santa Clara sheriff, for instance, or officers in adjoining communities?

  5. Also keep in mind, California government employees also get very generous retirement benefits; far more so than those in the private sector. While we are at the mercy of the stock market with our 401K plans they have guaranteed benefits at retirement. This is what ultimately is going to bring down state and local governments. Every year they raise taxes or divert funds just to be able to fund these pension obligations but there will be a tipping point in the near future.

  6. defund the PD and give everybody a CCW. More than one cop told me that criminals aren’t going to get prosecuted anymore in San Jose. And with no cash bail, the criminals will be ROR before lunch to commit their next crime.

  7. Pay the police well; honor them. The police are the first line of defense for law & order.

    Policing is like football, if you don’t have a strong defensive line, the opposition will take advantage of you.

    If one dishonors the police by not paying them well, other cities will. Stop the Blue Flight!

  8. SMH, What planet are you living on? You DO NOT need to be in the POA to be a police officer in the San Jose PD. Whatever wages and benefits that are negotiated by the POA apply to ALL officers on the Department, whether those officers are in the POA or not. Most officers are in the POA because the POA can get group insurance rates on life insurance policies and other things and in some cases for legal defense cases and representation in administrative investigations or labor issues. Internal investigations initiated by the police administration against officers are far, far more numerous than citizen generated complaints but almost no one ever talks about that. The POA is not some rabble of Union thugs. Cops can’t go on strike and I don’t know of any who would even if it was legal because they take their oath to protect the public seriously. The POA exists as merely a bargaining unit and as a voice to try to bring officers’ concerns to the police administration and the public. The POA does not fight for the rights of corrupt cops or “rogue” officers. The POA advocates to prevent dedicated , hardworking cops from being scape-goated by a gutless political establishment and by bloodthirsty anti-police pro-anarchy, political lynch- mobs whenever an officer has to make a split-second life or death decision that generates controversy. NO POA stands up for, advocates for, or pays any money to protect any criminal misconduct by an officer and I defy you to provide a single case where that has ever happened in the history of the San Jose POA.

  9. Here we go again. Lucrative retirement? Cops don’t get 401k’s (which could blossom into millions), they don’t get IRA’s, they don’t have stock options, no profit sharing, there are no bonuses or commissions, often overtime is not paid, it accumulates as comp time which you are later ordered to take off whether you want to or not. There are no “golden parachutes” or severance packages, or any of the other benefits so common in the private sector, and unless they worked for a long time before becoming cops, they won’t get Social Security benefits either. And generally while on their way to that bloated pension check, nearly all will go to more than a few funerals for friends killed in the line of duty, about half will go through at least one divorce, and many will develop alcohol problems and the suicide rate is well above average.

    Of course, the memories of the journey to the bloated, undeserved pension check are cumulative and never leave the mind so even after retiring and while living on that fat unearned pension, one can look forward to a higher rate of heart disease, cancer, and others stress related illnesses, and an accumulated job-incurred sense of cynicism and social isolation leads to a higher rate of alcoholism, suicide and a lower life expectancy after retirement.

    No matter; Stop complaining. This lucrative retirement is open to everyone. Please apply. You too can enjoy retiring after spending 30 years mingling with the flowers of humanity; junkies perverts, rapists, violent mentally ill people, the teenage runaways who sell themselves for drugs and the pimps who don’t care; the drunk with tuberculosis who coughs in your face, the dope addict with hepatitis and bleeding, ulcerated sores on his arms and whose blood is now all over your hands, face and uniform because he chose to fight you rather than be arrested.

    You’ll get to walk down dark alleys or into underground parking garages at night, by yourself due to staffing, because someone just reported hearing screaming and a gunshot somewhere near the fresh blood stain on the sidewalk.

    Yep, focusing on that pension check is all you’ll need to help you find the words to tell those parents that their 20 year old daughter won’t be coming home because you just got done photographing her brains all over the dashboard and steering wheel of her car, but the drunk driver that hit her head-on is probably going to pull through. And you’ll get to go out on Christmas Eve to a cheap motel where some poor little mom and her 3 and 5 year old kids died trying to keep warm by curling up around an improperly vented gas heater.

    You’ll get to deal with starved, bruised, and bleeding kids and their alcoholic parents who haven’t washed the kid’s clothes or cleaned the mold out of the refrigerator in months.

    You’ll get paid nothing extra for working nights, weekends, holidays, in the rain, in the cold and on your kid’s first birthday or when you come in with 102 degree fever because with short staffing you dare not call in sick on New Year’s Eve.

    You’ll get to take people to jail who were too drunk to remember what planet they were on at the time they were arrested but who have total recall months later when they complain that you were rude or used excessive force.

    Finally, you’ll get to listen to politicians who tell you how much they appreciate the job you do then turn around and maneuver to cut your pay or read a posting by someone who thinks that your pension is just unearned public welfare, forgetting apparently that you too pay taxes and that you too paid into you own retirement fund as well for 30 years.

  10. Well said JS but the woke including SJI have an agenda and it will not be broken by reality and ugly facts. I didnt realize our police do not receive social security either. I did read sometime back that their contribution from each paycheck into retirement is quite hefty. Silicon Valley the home of the spoiled woke. LOL