March 16, 2007
Law enforcement leaders from across the country are undertaking a strong lobby in the U.S. Congress for passage of H.R. 980, the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, which would set minimum collective bargaining rights for public safety officers.
Authored by U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Mich.), the legislation would require all 50 states to provide a mechanism for collective bargaining rights for all police, firefighters, correctional officers and EMTs.
“Over the years, Congress has expanded the scope of these laws to cover private-sector employees, nonprofit association employees, transportation workers, federal government employees, and most recently, congressional employees,” said President McEntee. “The only major category of workers not covered by federal laws is state and local government employees like public safety officers.”
To map out a plan to win passage of this measure, several AFSCME public safety members met in Washington, D.C., recently. “Given the nature of what we do, we deserve basic workplace protections,” says Council 15 Exec. Dir. Jim Howell who chairs the initiative. “We risk our lives every day because we care deeply about our jobs.”
President McEntee (2nd from left, seated) meets with law enforcement leaders (from left, seated) Paul Ariola (Connecticut Council 15), Jim Howell (Connecticut Council 15), Mark James (Washington Council 28); (standing, from left) William Lebeau (New York Council 82), Christian Mesley (New York Council 82), Susan Miller (Wisconsin Council 24), Sean Ronan (Connecticut Council 15), Kevin Ray (New York CSEA/Local 1000), Robert Jones (New Hampshire Council 93) and Mike Oester (Oregon Council 75). Not pictured: Gerald Grysko (Michigan Council 25), Wayne Hose (Maryland Council 67) and James Lyman (New York Council 82). PHOTO CREDIT: Jon Melegrito
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