Collective Bargaining for Public Safety Employees
The right to bargain collectively over hours, wages, and working conditions is enjoyed by virtually all employees in the United States. Yet this basic right is still denied to law enforcement officers and other public safety employees across the country. The FOP strongly supports the "Public Safety Officers' Employer-Employee Cooperation Act," which would finally recognize the right of these employees to bargain collectively for improved working conditions while fostering a better relationship with their employers.

Under this bill the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) would be directed to determine whether State law provides public safety officers with the right to form and join a union and bargain collectively with public safety employers over hours, wages, and conditions of employment. If State law does not "substantially provide" this and the other minimal requirements spelled out in the bill within two years or "the date of the end of the first regular session of the legislature of that State that begins after the date of the enactment of this Act," then the FLRA would be empowered to govern the labor-management relationship.

The objective here is not to have the Federal government involved in regulating labor-management relationships, but to spur the development and enactment of good labor laws which will improve the safety of all public safety officers and the delivery of emergency services to our citizens in a safer, more cost effective way.

Under the legislation, the FLRA would review existing State law and determine if that law would "substantially provide" for the following rights and responsibilities: In making this determination, the FLRA is required to consider the opinions of the affected employers, employees, and labor organizations. If an employer and an affected labor organization jointly agree that the current State law does "substantially provide" for these rights and responsibilities, the FLRA will give this agreement "weight to the maximum extent practicable" in making its determination.

If the FLRA determines that a State does not "substantially provide" for the rights and responsibilities enumerated above, than a State has two years (from the date of the law's enactment) or "date of the end of the first regular session of the legislature of that State that begins after the date of the enactment of this Act" or the FLRA will issue regulations which will provide for the aforementioned rights and responsibilities. These regulations will enable the FLRA to: The bill specifically prohibits strikes and lockouts.

The bill would not preempt any law of any State or political subdivision of any State or jurisdiction that substantially provides greater or comparable rights and responsibilities as described in above, or prevent a State from enforcing a State law which prohibits employers and labor organizations from negotiating provisions in a labor agreement that require union membership or payment of union fees as a condition of employment (i.e. "right-to-work").

The bill would also not preempt any State law in effect on the date of enactment that substantially provides for the rights and responsibilities described above solely because: The bill would not permit parties subject to the National Labor Relations Act to negotiate provisions that would prohibit an employee from engaging in part time employment or volunteer activities during off duty hours or require a State to rescind or preempt laws or ordinances of any of its political subdivisions if such laws substantially provide rights and responsibilities for public safety officers that are comparable to or greater than the rights and responsibilities enumerated above.

A State may exempt from its State law, or from the requirements established by this bill, a political subdivision of the State that has a population of less than 5,000 or that employs fewer than 25 full time employees.

The Fraternal Order of Police strongly supports the "Public Employer-Employee Cooperation Act"



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About H.R. 413/S. 1611 UPDATED

Links to More Information about this issue

House Report 110-232 - The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act - The report of the Committee on Education and Labor to the U.S. House of Representatives (13 July 2007)
Ensuring Collective Bargaining Rights for First Responders: H.R. 980, the "Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act" (5 June 2007, 110th Congress)
Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report: Bargaining Rights of Public Safety Officers: Checklist of State Laws and Proposed Congressional Preemption (H.R. 1093) (Updated 3 May 2000) is available from Penny Hill Press
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate on S. 952, the "Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2001" (24 September 2001)
Government Accounting Office (GAO) Report: Collective Bargaining Rights: Information on the Number of Workers with and without Collective Bargaining Rights (September 2002)

News and Letters

Previous Congresses
01/13/09 Letter from National President Chuck Canterbury to Representatives Kildee and Duncan on H.R. 413 on H.R. 413, the "Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act"
01/13/09 FOP Top Priority Introduced in the House

Testimony

03/10/10 Testimony of National President Chuck Canterbury given before the Subcommittee on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions House Committee on Education and Labor regarding H.R. 413, the "Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act."
07/25/00 Testimony of former National President Gilbert G. Gallegos given before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions regarding S. 1016, the "Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act."
05/09/00 Testimony of former National President Gilbert G. Gallegos given before the House Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations regarding H.R. 1093, the "Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act."



For more information or elaboration, please do not hesitate to contact the National FOP Legislative Office at (202) 547-8189 or via e-mail.