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City of Jersey City

BretSchundler
Mayor
Office of the Mayor
June 27, 2000

Should Police Officers Receive Overtime Pay for Shining Their Shoes and Brass Buttons?

Police unions think so. Which is why they are suing Jersey City's taxpayers for $5 million in back pay
Mayor Schundler calls lawsuit "ridiculous." Will propose putting the question on the ballot

Jersey City
Imagine having to pay every Jersey City police officer one hour of overtime each and every week to polish their uniform's brass buttons, then having to pay another hour to them to shine their leather shoes and maintain their leather holsters, and two more hours to clean and maintain their uniforms. Total cost to the taxpayers of Jersey City: $5 million over three years.

Sound ridiculous?

Yes, but that's what Jersey City's police unions are demanding from Jersey City's taxpayers.

Jersey City's two police unions, the Police Superior Officers Association and the Police Officers Benevolent Association, are suing Jersey City in federal court claiming that their members are entitled to overtime for getting ready for work. They are charging the City with violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires employers to pay their workers overtime when they exceed a 40-hour workweek.

In an effort to compel the Schundler administration to settle these claims, the PSOA and POBA have initiated political attacks on Mayor Schundler, which started with an organized demonstration on March 27 at Schuetzen Park where the Mayor was hosting a meet and greet for Essex County Jim Treffinger -- at the time a GOP candidate for U.S. Senate. They are now planning a second protest at a fundraiser that Mayor Schundler is hosting on June 28 at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City.

Mayor Schundler says that the latest lawsuit by the PSOA and POBA is "ridiculous."

"Jersey City's taxpayers get up every morning and get ready for work. Nurses put on their uniforms and UPS delivery men shine their shoes. Can you imagine them putting in an overtime request for the time they spend getting ready for work? This latest lawsuit by the police union is absurd," said Mayor Schundler. "When I mention the details of this lawsuit to the average resident, they are disgusted."

Schundler intends to ask the Jersey City Municipal Council to put the question to the public in the form of an advisory referendum so that Jersey City's residents will be able to voice their opposition to this outrageous police union request. "I want my City Council to know that the people do not want us to give in to this political pressure."

"Jersey City property taxpayers can't afford to pay for such nonsense. I just wish I didn't have to spend money on lawyers to defend the City against this garbage. The police unions should drop this suit," said Schundler.

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Documents from the Office of Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler

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