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House Approves Public Safety Collective Bargaining Bill

July 22, 2010

Early this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the War Supplemental Appropriations Act, H.R. 4899, which included an amendment granting collective bargaining rights for all public safety workers. The Senate is expected to take up the measure before the August recess.

AFSCME fought hard to add the full language of the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act (PSEECA) as an amendment to the supplemental bill. Last May, AFSCME corrections and law enforcement officers from across the country visited their U.S. representatives on Capitol Hill to enlist support for national collective bargaining legislation.

The bill, which passed the House in the 110th Congress but stalled in the Senate, establishes minimum state collective bargaining standards for corrections officers, police, emergency medical technicians and firefighters. Collective bargaining ensures improved communications between public safety officers and management, especially on decisions affecting operations and working conditions.

In commending the bi-partisan vote in the House, AFSCME Pres. Gerald McEntee is urging the Senate to do the same. “Our courageous and dedicated women and men in corrections and law enforcement are facing tremendous challenges as states look for ways to cut their budgets,” he said. “These officers risk – and sometimes lose – their lives to maintain security in our nation’s prisons and keep our communities safe. They deserve our respect.”

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