Within the next 30 to 60 days, full-time employees of the Chesterton Police
Department--both sworn officers and civilians--could put unionization to the
At the Town Council’s meeting Monday night, Paul Berkowitz, attorney for
Teamsters Local 142, presented a petition to members which he said was
signed by 13 CPD employees, requesting the scheduling of an election on
Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann said that, once he’s verified that the
signatures represent 30 percent of the CPD’s full-time workforce, an
election will be set within the statutory 30- to 60-day period.
Lukmann told the Chesterton Tribune after the meeting that a
unionized Police Department would look a lot like the already unionized Fire
Thus members of International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local
4600--representing the CFD--may meet at the fire station, post notices on
the bulletin board at the station, hold elections at the station, and have
their dues deducted from their paycheck and remitted by the town to the IAFF.
The town, for its part, retains all rights which are ordinarily vested in
and exercised by employees: or as IC 36-8-22 defines them, the right to
hire, promote, suspend, and discharge and the right to “maintain the
efficiency of governmental operations.”
One other provision of 36-8-22: it prohibits public safety employees from
engaging in work stoppages and strikes.
Local 4600 was recognized by the town several years ago. At the time,
Lukmann noted that its membership understood clearly, going into the
negotiation process, “that the Town of Chesterton can’t bind itself to
future financial obligations and can’t treat different municipal employees
In other business, members voted unanimously to authorize Police Chief Dave
Cincoski to apply for a no-match $400 grant from the Porter County Substance
Cincoski said that the grant would be applied to the purchase of gear for
the K-9 units.
Ambulance Out of Service
Meanwhile, Fire Chief Mike Orlich reported that the new ambulance is
temporarily out of service with an air-conditioning malfunction.
The back-up ambulance is on station.