Currently, 20 states do not provide all state and local public safety employees the ability to collectively bargain for fair wages and hours, while seven of those states prevent them from even forming a labor union
U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-1st dist.) and Dan Kildee, a Michigan Democrat, last week introduced legislation to ensure all state and city firefighters, police and EMS personnel can exercise their labor rights.
Currently, 20 states do not provide all state and local public safety employees the ability to collectively bargain for fair wages and hours, while seven of those states prevent them from even forming a labor union. Under this legislation, the Federal Labor Relations Authority would have three months to determine which states do not provide the baseline rights. This includes providing public safety officers the ability to form and join a labor union, collectively bargain regarding hours, wages and terms and conditions of employment. States would then have two years to comply.
“Federal law has extended collective bargaining to several different sectors, but not to public safety officers. There are many law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day to preserve the security and peace that our nation enjoys. However, these same officers are denied the basic American rights of collective bargaining for wages, hours and safe working conditions. We strongly believe that the public safety is best protected through effective partnerships between first responders on the front lines and the agencies that employ them. The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act will ensure that public safety officers can meet with local officials to discuss how they do their jobs and how best to protect the public,” said Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations. ••