The U.S. Senate is currently considering the Police & Fire Monopoly-Bargaining Act, which would require local governments to recognize unions in collective bargaining on labor disputes.
Opponents say the bill threatens states’ rights to decide whether collective bargaining is best for them and is an attempt to force more workers into unions. American City & County asked the readers of its weekly e-mail newsletter if the Police & Fire Monopoly-Bargaining Act would benefit labor relations between public safety agencies and local governments or usurp states’ rights and give unions too much power. Below are some of the responses.
“Absolutely this legislation would usurp states’ rights and provide an unnecessary and over arching benefit to public employees that have been the province of local government employers and their local unions/ employee groups. While it may be dead for now (work on the bill has been postponed while Sen. Ted Kennedy undergoes treatment for a brain tumor), it will rear its ugly head again.”
— Jay Gsell, Genesee County, N.Y., county manager
“I can’t believe that Congress has the audacity to demand that we unionize our employees!”
— Lynn Calton, city administrator, Lamar, Mo.
“This act will take away the voice we have to speak for ourselves. The powers that be that are backing this bill intend to do just that — silence the African-Americans in the fire service — nationwide. We will always need inclusiveness in anything we do collectively.”
— Joe Spigner, former president of the Black Fire Fighters Association of Dallas
“[The act] would hurt black firefighters’ organizations all over the country [that] are fighting for the right to employment and [promotions].”
— Stanley Johnson, retired St. Louis battalion fire chief, International Association of Black Professional Firefighters member
“[The act] does not represent the fire department and fire services of the U.S.”
— Shawn Gary, fire prevention officer, Dallas Fire-Rescue Department