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IAFF LEGISLATIVE FACT SHEET

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

The IAFF strongly supports the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act and encourages Members of Congress to cosponsor the bill.


BACKGROUND

Fire and police departments benefit immeasurably from productive partnerships between employers and employees.  Studies have shown that communities promoting such cooperation enjoy more effective and efficient delivery of emergency services.  Especially critical during our nation’s current economic challenges, cooperation enables employers and employees to work together to confront difficult budgetary constraints.  The best way to ensure such cooperation is through an established collective bargaining framework.  Most public safety officers already enjoy collective bargaining rights through state or local law, but many still have no rights to discuss workplace issues with their employer.

Over the years, Congress has expanded the scope of collective bargaining laws to protect private sector employees, non-profit association employees, transportation workers, federal government employees and, most recently, congressional employees.  One of the few groups of workers not covered by federal law is state and local government employees, including public safety officers.

While Congress has historically given states and localities wide latitude in managing their own employees, ensuring that public safety officers have basic collective bargaining rights is consistent with the increasing role of the public safety community in protecting our nation’s homeland security.

CURRENT LEGISLATION

U.S. House:         H.R. 413, the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act
                           Sponsors:          Representative Dale Kildee (D-MI)
                                                     Representative John Duncan (R-TN)

U.S. Senate:        S. 1611, the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act
                           Sponsors:          Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH)
                                                     Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA)

                           S. 3991, the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act
                           Sponsor:           Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)

Summary:           H.R. 413 and the Senate bills S. 1611 and S. 3991 would grant public safety officers
                           collective bargaining rights in states that don't currently provide them.  The legislation
                           gives states wide
flexibility to write and administer their own laws, consistent with the
                           following minimum rights:

                                    • to bargain over wages, hours and working conditions;
                                    • to use a dispute resolution mechanism, such as fact finding, mediation or
                                      arbitration; and
                                    • enforcement of contracts through state courts.

                           The legislation expressly prohibits strikes and lockouts; does not infringe on
                           right-to-work laws; and does not interfere with existing state laws and collective
                           bargaining agreements.

Cosponsors H.R. 413

Cosponsors S. 1611


CONGRESSIONAL ACTION

On January 9, 2009, H.R. 413 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and referred to the Committee on Education and Labor.

On August 6, 2009, S. 1611 was introduced in the U.S. Senate and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

On March 10, 2010, the House Education Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions held a hearing on H.R. 413.  Read more....

On July 1, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act as part of an amendment to a supplemental appropriations bill, H.R. 4899, by a vote of 239-182-1.  Read more... 

On July 22, 2010, the Senate failed to invoke cloture on H.R. 4899, as amended, by a vote of 46-51.

On November 30, 2010, S. 3991 was introduced in the U.S. Senate. 

On December 8, 2010, the Senate failed to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to S. 3991 by a vote of 55-43Read more...