Labor Day is Monday. And while many folks take the long weekend to relax, the symbolic end of the summer means something different to union organizers.

For them it’s a day to celebrate the solidarity of their workers.

This year, policy in Indiana and across the country  has continued to limit the influence and power unions have – and union membership is following that downward trend.

Courtesy / Allen County GOP

Allen County’s Republican Party leader has a new proposal to protect workers he says will “smooth the edges” of Fort Wayne’s recent ban on collective bargaining for most city employees.

Chairman Steve Shine sent a letter to Republican members of the Fort Wayne City Council Friday urging them to create an appeals process for city workers that would ensure fairness in firing and disciplinary decisions.

Shine says he was initially approached on the matter by Jeremy Bush with the Fort Wayne Professional Firefighers union, who asked him to intercede with a proposal.

A right-to-work ordinance for Fort Wayne’s police officers and firefighters survived a mayoral veto. The vote was made at Tuesday's City Council meeting. 

The ordinance says that public safety workers can’t lose their jobs if they don’t want to pay union dues. It was introduced by Republican councilman Mitch Harper.

Harper says it’s a matter of principle – that it’s not taking away union’s rights, but giving freedom of choice to the employee.

The Fort Wayne City Council meets again Tuesday to discuss and possibly vote on a series of proposals aimed at limiting collective bargaining for city employees.

Councilmen John Crawford and Russ Jehl introduced the measures earlier this month, citing the high cost of both the collective bargaining process and union employee benefits.

The debate has been heated, and before the council convenes, both sides were given a chance to share their views with WBOI News.

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.

Virginia Alvino / WBOI News

Proposals to limit or eliminate collective bargaining for Fort Wayne city employees will have their first public hearing at tonight’s city council meeting.  

The proposals were introduced at last week’s meeting by Republican councilmen John Crawford and Russ Jehl.

Collectively, the measures repeal collective bargaining rights for all city union employees and consolidates those unions into just two organizations.