Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ask Senators Lincoln and Pryor to support our Public Safety Employees

The House of Representatives has approved the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010 (H.R. 4899) that included an amendment incorporating the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act (PSEECA), which would provide firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical personnel with collective bargaining rights in Arkansas and other states and localities that do not currently provide them, establish minimum standards for collective bargaining rights for these groups, and give the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) the power to regulate and enforce these rights.

The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act assures that fire fighters, police officers, and other first responders in every state will have the right to talk to their employer about how to improve public safety and do their jobs more safely. The initiative was included in a supplemental appropriation bill adopted by a vote of 239-182 on Thursday, July 1. Representatives Berry, Ross, and Snyder supported the provision; John Boozman voted NO.

“Seventy-five years after passage of the National Labor Relations Act, fire fighters are a step closer to having the same rights that workers in the private sector have had since 1935,” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. The Fraternal Order of Police has a good analysis here.

While most fire fighters and law enforcement officers are already provided bargaining rights under state laws, too many public safety officers do not have the ability to present ideas about how they can better protect the public safety. The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act will ensure that Arkansas and every other state allows discussions between first responders and the agencies that employ them, and will promote productive partnerships between labor and management.

Collective bargaining is especially important in light of the fiscal crisis facing many states, cities and counties. Over the past two years, fire fighters and police officers have offered millions of dollars in concessions and given back raises and benefits previously agreed to in order to prevent cuts that would undermine public safety.

The Senate will take up the measure following its July 4 recess. This legislation is important to our union brothers and sisters serving in public safety agencies, so let's generate at least 200 calls from our members in Northwest Arkansas. It will only take a few minutes of our time, but it can mean so much. Please call Senators Lincoln and Pryor this week ask them to support it. Senate Bill 3194, also known as the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The House version that passed last week is included in H.R. 4899.

Call both offices of both Senators and ask them to support the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act. You can also call these numbers after hours and leave messages.

Senator Blanche Lincoln
DC OFFICE: (202) 224-4843

Senator Mark Pryor
DC OFFICE: (202) 224-2353
LITTLE ROCK OFFICE: (501) 324-6336

No comments:

Post a Comment