Collective Bargaining on the Chopping Block for City Unions

Published 05/12 2014 01:04AM

Updated 05/12 2014 08:22AM

Three ordinances to be introduced at Tuesday’s City Council meeting would eliminate collective bargaining for Fort Wayne unions.

The workers impacted by the ordinances say it’s a “demeaning” move,  but the two republican city councilman behind the idea say it will save tax payers money. 

“Collective bargaining puts the interest of unions over the tax payers,” said Fort Wayne City Councilman Russell Jehl, R-2nd.

Fort Wayne City Councilmen Russell Jehl,R-2nd and John Crawford, R, at-large, are the authors of the proposed ordinances. 

“If we are paying above market wages and benefits which we think we are because of collective bargaining then we either have to tax you more or give you less services,” said Crawford. 

The first ordinance that both Councilmen will introduce would repeal collective bargaining for all non-public safety union members. 

The second option, eliminates collective bargaining for all non-public safety workers and consolidates the unions into two unions—one for City Utilities and the other for Civil Employees

A third ordinance that Crawford will introduce alone is aimed at stripping collective bargaining for public safety workers. 

“We don't see an advantage to have collective bargaining.  We see the advantage to the union workers and that's why they want it,” said Crawford. 

“What collective bargaining does is allow for the employees to have a voice,” said Jeremy Bush, President, Fort Wayne Professional Firefighters. 

Bush says repealing collective bargaining will make city workers feel undervalued.

“I think what the tax payers have to look at is over the history of city unions they have been an integral part of cost saving for this city,” said Bush. 

Mayor Tom Henry said in a statement that reads in part.

"I don't think we build a better Fort Wayne by beating up on the employees who plowed snow for weeks on end without a day off, who run fearlessly into burning buildings, who turn on a dime to keep us safe. Take away a worker's voice and you take away his or her dignity."

The three ordinances will be introduced at next Tuesday’s City Council meeting and discussed May 20 and May 27.  

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