Hickenlooper threatens veto of firefighter unions bill in present form

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Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday said he cannot support the current version of a bill that would make it easier to unionize firefighters in Colorado, an implicit veto threat to leaders of his own party in the Legislature.

In a letter to Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, and House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said he could not support in Senate Bill 25 in its current form, which would allow firefighters in even the smallest locales to unionize regardless of whether their voters or local governing boards had rejected the idea previously.

Gov. Bill Ritter, Hickenlooper's Democratic predecessor, vetoed a nearly identical bill in 2009, a move that cost him points with labor groups and his own party.

"As a former mayor, I respect the positive good that can result from collective bargaining," Hickenlooper said in the letter to Democratic leaders. "In Denver, we successfully negotiated collective bargaining agreements with the firefighters' union. In those negotiations, we operated with the mutual understanding that we must take into consideration the shared interests of making responsible use of taxpayer funds, prioritizing the well-being and safety of the public and ensuring the safety of the firefighters themselves.

"We understand why some firefighters view organizing within a collective bargaining unit as a fair channel of meaningful communication with their employers."

Read the full story at The Denver Post's website.

Comments

Fred Duckels 1 year, 10 months ago

Getting Hicks sulpport was a long shot but the voting let the Democrats go on record as backing union wishes.

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Fred Duckels 1 year, 10 months ago

Getting Hicks support was a long shot but the voting let the Democrats go on record as backing union wishes.

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 10 months ago

Fred,

Seems that when the bill was modified to included fire depts with as few as two employees was too much for Hicks. Earlier version of the bill that applied to depts of 50 or more might have received his support.

I think the bill is a political problem because there are too many small fire districts and Hicks doesn't want a story a week on the problems caused in a small fire districts. These small fire depts typically have more volunteers than paid positions so a union wouldn't represent most of the dept's firefighters.

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John St Pierre 1 year, 10 months ago

Exactly.... Unions force the volunteers out.... Volunteers are the connection to the community.... "professional" (loose term) paid staff essentially cut themselves off from the people who pay their salaries.... Volunteers are the community.... too bad here they cut there feet off

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