The news broke just before lunch—Police Union President Nelson Cuba was announcing his intentions to call for a boycott of Gate Petroleum, the family business owned by Mayor John Peyton’s father, in retaliation of the Mayor’s plan to call for pension reforms and salary freezes. Nelson accused the mayor of threatening to take away the “basic necessities” police officers have become accustomed to.
The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5-30 is one of the most powerful unions in the city and home to over 2,500 officers. The union has long wielded considerable influence in city elections, including endorsing John Peyton and many of the current members of the city council. Nelson’s call to members of the union to “send [their] own message and hit the Mayor in his pocket” is therefore not only a monetary threat—it is something designed to discourage any council member from supporting reforms that the union does not agree to.
UNF Political Science Professor Matthew Corrigan told David Hunt of The Florida Times-Union that the move by Nelson could backfire. Corrigan said that, while the union is well-respected in the city, they risk losing that respect by refusing to share in budget cuts.