FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - About two dozen city employees stood outside of Citizen Square, encouraging Fort Wayne city councilmembers to introduce an ordinance that would bring back collective bargaining agreements for non-public safety city employees.
Back in 2014, city council voted 6-3 along party lines to get rid of CBA’s for non-public safety employees of the city and after the five Republican members of council voted to not introduce the ordinance put forth by the four Democratic members, that still stands.
Democratic councilman At-Large Glynn Hines was one of four current members on council back in 2014. Back then, he voted to keep the CBA in place. He says if Republicans are for some city employees having CBS's, they should be for everyone.
"If you’re for public safety for having collective bargaining, then the civil servant, non-public safety employees should be entitled to public collective bargaining as well, Hines said. "I think anything short of that is, as I said back years ago, is bulls**t."
2nd district Republican councilman Russ Jehl voted no back in 2014 to get rid of unions for those employees and voted again tonight to keep things the way they are.
He believes those city employees should accept what’s in place.
Jehl explained "It is an honor to serve the public, and the public is best served not with collective bargaining and that’s why I take that stance and why I think our employees should respect what is best for the public and respect the system that is in place."
For the Democratic members of council, tonight was less about the CBA not happening than it was not even getting the chance to introduce the ordinance. Democratic ouncilwoman Sharon Tucker of the 6th district summarized her side’s thoughts.
"Your party wouldn’t even allow discussion to take place and you’ll want to discuss something in the future with us, you will, you will, and we’ll listen because that’s what good people do, they listen and talk," Tucker said.
Jehl says that there are instances where costs were saved due to eliminating those CBA’s where as Hines says they haven’t materialized, and Jehl says while there was talks of helping these same employees during the pandemic in the summer, that’s no reason to upend things.
"The pandemic is an exceptional time and that is why you don’t make structural long term changes such as bringing back collective bargaining, just because of a pandemic," Jehl explained.
So now what this means is that the only city employees who will be able to have unions are public safety, which all councilmembers who spoke with FOX 55 on Tuesday night agreed should be allowed, but this issue can of course be brought up again at a later date.