In a bipartisan effort to ensure all police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel have a voice in matters of public safety, Representatives John Duncan(R-TN) and Dan Kildee ( D-MI) have introduced HR 4846, the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2018.
The bill would provide those who protect the public a stronger collective voice on issues pertaining to not only their own safety but the safety of the communities they serve.
HR 4846 outlines five essential rights that allow employees to collectively address safety concerns, both on a personal and community-wide level, including the right to form and join a union; have a contract; ensure the contract is enforced; bargain over safety issues, wages, hours and terms of employment; and have a dispute mechanism to resolve disagreements.
The Cooperation Act nearly became law seven years ago but failed to move out of the Senate. Today’s reintroduction bill marks a new chapter in the decades-long effort to provide basic collective bargaining rights for professional firefighters, EMS personnel, and other public safety workers.
“Public safety employees in many jurisdictions – police officers and firefighters – are virtually the only class of workers left in the nation today who are denied the fundamental right to bargain collectively with their employers over wages, hours, and working conditions,” says National President of the Fraternal Order of Police Chuck Canterbury. “Today, we are going on offense and will be pushing – and pushing hard – for the rights of our members in all states.”
“Every day, thousands of public safety professionals go to work and do not have a say in their own personal safety or the protection of the community,” says General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters Harold A. Schaitberger. “Based on the many strong relationships firefighters and police officers have built over the years with lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle, the time is right to move forward and renew the case for the collective bargaining rights in the United States Congress.”
While many firefighters, police officers and EMS personnel live in jurisdictions in which these rights currently exist, many others go to work every day without these necessary protections. The re-introduction of the Cooperation Act marks the IAFF’s and FOP’s continued commitment to strong public safety and the rights of those who protect our communities and lack a voice on matters that personally affect them.
The International Association of Fire Fighters, headquartered in Washington, DC, represents more than 310,000 full -time professional firefighters and paramedics who protect communities in every state and throughout Canada. More information is available at www.iaff.org
The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest law enforcement labor organization in the United States with more than 335,000 members.