Appeals Court: 'Evergreen Clause' in City Fire Contract Is Legal

A state appeals court ruled today that the 'Evergreen Clause' which allows a contract between the City of San Antonio and the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association to remain in force nearly three years after it expired is legal, and does not violate the Texas Constitution, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The decision is a blow to the City, which had sought to have the evergreen clause declared unconstitutional as a way to force the SAPFFA back to the bargaining table.

“I will recommend to the Mayor and Council that the City appeal the decision to the Texas Supreme Court,” City Manager Sheryl Sculley said.

The Evergreen Clause, which was included as part of the police and firefighters contract language earlier this decade, requires a contract to remain in place for ten years after it expires.  The Union said the City negotiators signed the contract that included the clause, and they should be held to the agreement.

The existence of the Evergreen Clause has allowed the SAPFFA to sidestep Sculley's push for the firefighters to pick up a greater portion of their health care costs, warning that public safety health care will 'crowd out' other city expenses if that doesn't happen.

Sculley also urged the firefighters to come to the bargaining table and begin bargaining.

The San Antonio Police Officers Association reached a mediated contract with the city in 2016.

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