Collective bargaining would be completely eliminated for union workers in Fort Wayne under a proposal by members of the City’s council. The council approved the introduction of the proposal Tuesday.
Collective bargaining – it’s how groups of employees use representatives to negotiate things like wages and benefits.
Fort Wayne City Councilmen John Crawford and Russell Jehl propose to repeal collective bargaining rights for city utilities and other workers. Crawford also proposes to appeal the rights for public safety workers.
Among the hundreds of folks who showed up to Tuesday’s council meeting where the proposals were introduced, was long time Fort Wayne street department worker John Sanders.
“We always suck it up," Sanders says. "When you guys say no raise we don’t stop working, we keep working, because we work for you and the public. But now you come in and tell us we’re not worth anything, that’s what you’re saying. This is the worst winter we ever had, but we stuck out there.”
Councilmen Glynn Hines spoke strongly against the proposal, saying there’s been no public discussion on the matter.
Councilman Jehl says collective bargaining costs the city too much money and prevents the promotion of the best workers.
Mayor Tom Henry has issued a statement advocating against the proposal, saying "take away a worker's voice and you take away his or her dignity."
The introduction of the proposal was approved 6-2 and will have its first hearing next week. The council says it will continue collecting public input until that time.