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Reps. Kildee, Duncan Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Labor Rights for Public Safety Officers

January 19, 2018
Press Release

Legislation Allows Police Officers, Firefighters and EMS Personnel to Create Labor Unions, Collectively Bargain

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) and Congressman John Duncan (TN-02) today introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure that all state and city firefighters, police and EMS personnel are able to exercise their labor rights. The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act would provide these public safety officers the right to form a labor union and collectively bargain with their employer on wages and hours.

Currently, 20 states do not provide all state and local public safety employees the ability to collectively bargain for fair wages and hours, while seven of those states prevent them from even forming a labor union. Under this legislation, which sets a federal floor on labor rights for public safety employees, the Federal Labor Relations Authority would have three months to determine which states do not provide the baseline rights. This includes providing public safety officers the ability to form and join a labor union, collectively bargain regarding hours, wages and terms and conditions of employment. States would then have two years to comply.

“America’s firefighters, police and emergency personnel put their lives on the line every day to serve our communities. They should have the right to form a union and fight for fair wages and safe working conditions,” said Congressman Kildee. “Labor unions are critical to growing America’s middle class, and we have fallen short as a country in providing equal rights for our public safety officers. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with Representative Duncan and will push hard for immediate action in Congress.”

“Our First Responders risk their lives every day to help others.  They deserve the same labor rights that other public servants have already.  This bipartisan bill provides those rights without the risks associated with work stoppage,” Congressman Duncan said.

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