Colorado Springs Firefighters Union Overcomes Mayor’s Opposition For Spot On Ballot

Despite vehement opposition from the mayor and some Colorado Springs City Council members, the local firefighters union has collected enough signatures to place a collective bargaining question on the city’s April ballot.

All that’s left is a vote next week by the council, a formality because the Professional Firefighters Association, IAFF Local 5, collected about 16,000 signatures that were validated late last month, City Clerk Sarah Johnson said.

Local President Dave Noblitt has said the Fire Department is overworked and understaffed and collective bargaining status would afford the union the chance to use nonbinding arbitration between the city and a neutral third party.

Collective bargaining, if approved by voters, does not give the firefighters union the right to strike. State law prohibits public safety employees from walking off the job in labor disputes.

Mayor John Suthers has strongly opposed the issue and asked the council not to refer the question to the ballot. But that was before Local 5 began petitioning. Now that the union has collected enough signatures, the council is required to send the issue to voters, Johnson said.

From The Gazette