Thanks to effective lobbying efforts by South Fulton, GA Local 3920, the South Fulton City Council passed an ordinance enacting Georgia State Statute 25-5, the Fire Fighters Mediation Act, giving fire fighters the right to bargain collectively with their employer regarding benefits and other terms and conditions of employment.
“Our members worked tirelessly to educate members of the city council on the value of collective bargaining, and their hard work paid off,” says 12th District Vice President Walt Dix. “I congratulate our Local 3920 members on a job well done.”
Although the state statute was passed in 1971 during Jimmy Carter’s time as governor, very few Georgia locals have attempted to enact the statute because, until recently, members have been largely unaware of the Fire Fighters Mediation Act.
When Andrea Hall was elected local president, among her many goals was to re-establish and to improve the local’s relationship with the city administration. This included enacting the Fire Fighters Mediation Act.
“I know that Local 3920 and the city administration have the common goal of creating an environment where employees want to stay long term,” says Hall. “I know that passing this ordinance will allow labor and management to sit down and negotiate terms that will create an environment that supports that idea.”
Hall says the IAFF and District Vice President Dix were extremely supportive of Local 3920’s effort to secure collective bargaining in South Fulton.
“The most critical piece was to educate the city council members on the value of collective bargaining,” says Hall. “We armed ourselves with all the facts so that we could answer any questions the administration might have.”
The Fire Fighters Mediation Act ultimately earned the support of Council Member Helen Willis, who sponsored the ordinance, and others on the council. The vote was unanimous in favor of passing the ordinance.