By Matt Montgomery
Officers from the Piedmont Police Department have applied to join the Oklahoma Fraternal Order of Police in an effort to gain union representation.
Piedmont Police Chief Alex Oblein said there will be a secret-ballot election held soon among the officers, but a date hasn’t been chosen.
According to the Oklahoma Employees Relations Board, the police department has the right to call an election to seek certification. However, the city has 20 days to provide the board with a list of the officers that would be eligible to vote.
Oblein said the officers have a right to join the FOP if they want, and he said Piedmont is the first police department he has worked at in 13 years that didn’t have some sort of union representation.
“It’s nothing new to me,” Oblein said. “I guess the issues will be, there may or may not be pay, but that could be negotiated, work pools, shift assignments, that kind of stuff.”
Oblein said he hasn’t had much feedback from his staff, because he said he was gone to Ada for certification when he heard about it. He said he got an email from one of his officers letting him know that they wanted to sign the petition.
“I’ll take the officers’ word on it. We haven’t had any labor issues that I’m aware of since I’ve been here,” he said. “There has been some history in the past, some contentious moments between old chiefs and staff. Since I’ve been here, we’ve had a really good working relationship with everybody. Any issues I’ve had, we’ve dealt with in a fair manner and put them in the past.”
The City of Piedmont will consult with its attorney, Michael Segler, but the Oklahoma Employees Relations Board will work with the police department to schedule the secret-ballot election.