Anti-Collective Bargaining Bill Killed in Wyoming

February 11 • 2015
Thanks to the united efforts of Federated Fire Fighters of Wyoming (FFFW) members, a bill that would have stripped away binding arbitration for fire fighters has been defeated. On the final reading in the state Senate, the vote was 16 against and 14 in favor.

“With the defeat of Senate File 123, the collective bargaining rights that Wyoming’s professional fire fighters have had for 50 years remain protected,” says FFFW President Joe Fender. “I am very proud of the efforts made by our members to lobby our state leaders on the importance of voting against this bill.”

Senate File 123 was introduced by state Senator Dave Kinskey (R), the former mayor of Sheridan who is known as anti-labor. During his time as mayor, he went to arbitration with Wyoming IAFF members several times and claimed that the binding arbitration process cost cities too much money.

His bill proposed to strip away the binding arbitration and make it non-binding and give City leaders the final say on contracts between the two parties.

“Binding arbitration is a very important piece to the collective bargaining process,” says Fender. “It ensures that if the two sides have trouble coming to an agreement on an issue or a set of issues, both sides still have a voice.”

In the Senate, all four Democratic senators were instrumental in killing the bill. But, Senator John Hastert (D), a Wyoming state AFL-CIO vice president, was the most vocal, publically arguing that collective bargaining has enabled fire fighters to bargain successfully for important things – such as training and equipment – which keep fire fighters and the public safe.

No other anti-labor bills are expected to be introduced this session.