The bill that would establish a national system of collective bargaining for public safety employees – known as the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act – is likely dead for 2010 as a result of a complicated set of procedural maneuvers in both houses of Congress. The House of Representatives had passed the bill in late June 2010, attaching it as an amendment to a supplemental appropriation bill known as H.R. 4899, which was largely designed for war appropriations.
However, in the last week of July, the Senate rejected the supplemental appropriation bill, largely because so many domestic spending measures had been tacked onto the bill as amendments. The Senate then passed a stripped-down version of the war appropriations bill and sent it to the House for consideration. Since this is an election year and lawmakers’ minds are otherwise occupied, the chances are slight that the collective bargaining bill will be again considered before the end of 2010.
The collective bargaining bill would have provided firefighters, law enforcement officers, and emergency medical personnel with collective bargaining rights in states and localities that do not currently provide them. The bargaining would follow the “meet and confer” model, would not provide for binding
This article appears in the September 2010 issue