|Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer|
Monday, May 24, 2010
It's Not EFCA, But for Some Cities It Might Be Worse
The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act (PSEEC) would require all state and local governments to collectively bargain with public safety employees'--police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel--by creating a federalized collective bargaining system for public safety officers.
For more on the reasons why the Heritage Foundation thinks this is a bad idea, go here.
A more supportive view, not surprisingly, comes from the International Association of Fire Fighters, an AFL-CIO affiliate.
My quick review of the bill did not indicate that size of the governmental entity makes any difference. Here is the key definition for coverage:
"The terms `employer' and `public safety agency' mean any State, or political subdivision of a State, that employs public safety officers."In Texas, many of the major cities already have the obligation to bargain (often not very successfully) with their police, fire and emergency medical personnel, although they will still have to be certified as meeting the national standards.
Many other Texas cities do not. But if this passes the current Texas procedure (which is in itself several complicated pieces of legislation) will be set aside if the Federal Labor Relations Authority does not deem them equal to the new federal standard. In tough economic times, not a financial burden that many governments are going to be excited about taking on.
For those not too concerned about Public Sector labor relations, the legislative tactic might be a precursor to see how other labor and employment legislation may be moved through this Congress. By attaching the bills to "must pass" legislation, such as an appropriations bill, we may soon see just how filibuster proof this Congress is when it comes to employment and labor matters.
Update May 25, 2010: Labor Relations Today covers the same topic and closes with the following:
Update May 29, 2010: Senator Reid pulled the PSEEC from the Supplemental Appropriations bill in light of a parliamentary challenge that it was non-germane. The Supplemental passed without it, although the bill itself remains pending in both houses. Thanks for Labor Relations Today for the update.