NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 6, 2007

The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2007 (H.R. 980) creates a federalized collective-bargaining system for state and local police, firefighters and other public safety-officers.  It is actually more a Politician-Union-Labor Lawyer Cooperation Act than anything for the local fire department, says the Washington Times.

H.R. 980:  

  • Allows the Federal Labor Relations Authority to determine whether a state's collective-bargaining arrangements are up to snuff with the bill's, thus setting up states like New York and Wisconsin for a collision with federal authorities.
  • Sneaks in a significant boost for unions; it requires the FLRA to give weight to "the opinion of affected employee organizations."

In other words, says the Times, not only is state law being trumped, but now, if and when a Democratic administration takes over, the unions' word could actually be louder than the states' depending what the FLRA decides.

Whether local police and firefighters will see better benefits and salaries under a federal system than at present is an open question, says the Times.  What is more certain is that states will be railroaded while unions and Washington lawyers who contribute heavily to the Democratic Party will be the big winners.  It is not as if the great majority of police or firefighters are left out of modern labor relations.  About 68 percent of firefighters and 58 percent of police nationwide are unionized, as compared to 8 percent of the private sector.

Source: Editorial, "A poor bargain," Washington Times, July 6, 2007.


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