The unions representing the San Antonio Park and Airport Police Officers celebrated a win on Wednesday after three judges ruled in their favour. They prayed for collective bargaining rights against the city.
The Fourth Court of Appeals ruled in the positive for the San Antonio Park Police Officers Association. The three-judge panel’s decision will allow the association to have sufficient grounds to file a lawsuit against the city of San Antonio, Texas. The city initially argued that any lawsuit against it would not prosper as such a theory protects them because it had governmental immunity.
This prompted the different unions representing the San Antonio Park and Airport Police Officers to counter that the city failed to recognize that the parties are members of the San Antonio Police Department. They argued that they reported to Police Chief William McManus and have the same law enforcement authority as the San Antonio Police Department officers.
Indeed, the court believes that the San Antonio Park and Airport Police members are police officers as stated under Chapter 174 of the Local Government Code. Under such a chapter, the San Antonio Police Department is given the right to bargain with the city regarding compensation and other benefits collectively.
This is what the San Antonio Park and Airport Police Officers want to settle as they have fewer benefits than the police officers with the San Antonio Police Department. The park and airport police officers get paid a third less than police officers with the San Antonio Police Department. The park and airport police officers also do not have as many benefits and pension plans compared to the police officers with the San Antonio Police Department. Because the park and airport police officers believe that they have the same job as those with the San Antonio Police Department, they wanted to discuss the possibility of a raise and better benefits.
Now that there is such a decision, the Fourth Court of Appeals remanded the case back to the trial court. The city and the different unions can then either agree to settle their lawsuit or still argue regarding the allegations and the facts of the case.
An alternative move for the city is to appeal the judgment of the three-judge panel to all seven justices comprising the Fourth Court of Appeals. They can also appeal to the Texas Supreme Court. It is still unclear how the city will proceed after the decision.