The city of Oakland, California, has laid off 80 police officers, citing budget concerns.
Negotiations between the city and the officers' union collapsed Tuesday over the issue of job security. According to the city's website, Oakland's final offer to the Oakland Police Officers Association guaranteed one year of no layoffs, with union members paying an escalating percentage of their city pension, topping out at 9 percent in January 2013.
The city said the union originally offered to pay the 9 percent, but only in exchange for a three-year, "no layoff" guarantee.
"Given the City's financial situation, it would have been financially irresponsible for the City to consider any 'no layoff' guarantee in excess of one year," said Oakland's website.
The union said it was disappointed by the city's decision.
"Losing four officers last year was a shock to us all, and we haven't really recovered from that yet. And now we are losing another 80 officers this year, not by the hand of a gun but by the hand of a pen," said Dominique Arotzarena, president of the Oakland Police Officers Association.
Budget problems have forced many cutbacks in Oakland. The city says it and its civilian employee unions agreed on 12 business closure days through April 1, 2011, to balance the 2009-2011 budget, the first of which was July 2. On those days, Oakland is suspending administrative and other city services, except for police, fire and emergency services.
The city said Tuesday it still hopes to work with the police union "to support ballot measures in the November election which will help provide additional funding to pay for the 80 officers who will be leaving the force effective today as well as to avoid laying off an additional 122 officers effective January 1, 2011, as per the recently passed budget resolution."