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Arbitrator decides in favor of union

An arbitrator has decided in favor of Lawton's police union in a contract dispute over changing police officers' work shifts, police officers reported Friday.
 
Police Capt. Robert Puccino confirmed that the arbiter, expected to issue a decision Tuesday, ruled in favor of the local chapter of the International Association for Police Unions, which objected to the city's adding language into the fiscal 2013-2014 contract that would allow it to change from a 10-hour shift to an eight-hour shift in an attempt to reduce costs for overtime pay. 
 
City officials planned to change the shift structure for officers at the beginning of March 2013 in order to reduce overtime and increase the number of officers on patrol during each shift. The plan was placed on hold after the police union filed a grievance protesting the change.
 
The union objected, arguing that the power to change shift hours was to be negotiated as part of the collective bargaining agreement. When both parties came to the table, the union proposed to trade a freeze on certain step pay increases if the city would drop the shift change issue. 

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