Debate Continues Over Proposals to End Collective Bargaining

May 21, 2014

Hundreds of residents pack Citizen's Square for the council's hearing on collective bargaining.
Credit Virginia Alvino / WBOI News

The debate over proposals to eliminate collective bargaining for public unions in Fort Wayne continued at Tuesday’s city council meeting. 

Hundreds of residents – mostly union supporters – packed Citizen’s Square for the hearing.

Councilman John Crawford, who introduced the proposals, says that collective bargaining costs taxpayers too much, in both the expense of negotiations and workers’ wages, although he doesn’t know the exact amount the city could save if his proposals are approved.

“Collective bargaining is a right, not a privilege," Crawford says. "And it is decided by every state and every city. A lot of states don’t have it at all.”

Former councilman Tim Pape gave a presentation on behalf of Mayor Tom Henry, who is against the proposals. 

He says it’s important to calculate value, not just costs of union workers.

“Seventy-five percent of your cost is your workforce, they’re doing the work," Pape says. "You input that and you get this award winning, citizen pleasing, high performance, innovative, best in class city services."

Pape also cites the efficiency of Fort Wayne Public Utilities which has reduced personnel while increasing productivity. 

Henry has indicated that he would veto the proposals if they pass – which the council would need six votes to override.

The council could vote on the measures as early as next Tuesday.