New Orleans City Council passes collective bargaining ordinance

June 24 • 2023

The New Orleans City Council unanimously voted 7-0 to codify collective bargaining into city law. While New Orleans Local 632 already had the right to collective bargaining, this law extends that right to all city employees and adds binding arbitration. 

Until now, New Orleans Local 632 has been the only union allowed to collectively bargain; however, without binding arbitration, ongoing disputes with the city have prevented the Local from successfully negotiating a new contract since 2011.  

“We were proud to fight side by side with our city employees as they sought collective bargaining rights. We strongly believe they should be afforded to everyone,” said Local 632 President Aaron Mischler. “And now that we will be able to go to arbitration, I am looking forward to finding resolutions on our outstanding issues.” 

Key provisions of the ordinance include: 

  • City workers will have a path to organize and can communicate during or outside work hours and use city resources to form a union. 
  • The mayor and the city administration are prohibited from interfering or barring union activities and must engage in good-faith bargaining. 
  • The establishment of an independent labor rights administrator to oversee and monitor the collective bargaining process, including presiding over union elections, certifying union recognition, and handling mediation and arbitration. 
  • The establishment of a grievance and binding arbitration process. 

Mayor LaToya Cantrell has the power to veto the ordinance but is not expected to do so as the council voted unanimously in favor of it. The new law goes into effect January 2024.