December 1, 2010 --Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has filed a revised version of the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, S. 3991, which would give fire fighters collective bargaining rights.
The move brings fire fighters one step closer to gaining collective bargaining rights.
Senator Reid is working to bring the new measure to the Senate floor as soon as possible.
Despite the progress, General President Harold Schaitberger warns that the bill’s opponents are mobilizing to prevent fire fighters from getting the collective bargaining rights they deserve, and he urged IAFF members to call their senators to voice support for the measure.
“The National Right-to-Work Committee and all of their hired guns who oppose giving workers the rights they deserve are doing everything they can to prevent fire fighters from having collective bargaining. We need to stand up and fight so our opponents don’t dictate the outcome, and that means fire fighters must call their senators and urge them to support this measure,” Schaitberger says.
More disturbingly, yesterday the entire Republican Senate conference signed a letter indicating that they will not vote to invoke cloture on any issue until an agreement is reached on extending tax cuts and reaching an accord on a continuing resolution to fund the federal government into 2011. Should the GOP conference remain wedded to that position, it will be impossible to achieve 60 votes for cloture and proceed with the IAFF collective bargaining legislation, the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act [James Zadroga Act] or any other piece of legislation.
Despite the decision by GOP senators to sign the letter, we are continuing to work with Senator Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire) and our other Republican supporters to ensure that they stand with us when our cloture vote comes up.
Collective bargaining was designated as the IAFF’s top legislative priority by delegates at the 1994 IAFF Convention in Detroit.
By filing the new collective bargaining bill during the lame duck session of Congress, Senator Reid is following through on his commitment to bring this issue to the floor for an up or down vote while Democrats hold the majority in both chambers of Congress.
All private sector workers have enjoyed the right to organize and bargain collectively since passage of the Wagner Act in 1935.
“We are finally getting our day in court. It’s time for members of Congress to demonstrate whether they are our friend or foe,” Schaitberger says.