Indiana becomes ‘right to work’ state

Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana, who had once said that he did not wish to add a “right to work” provision to the state’s labor laws, signed a bill on Wednesday doing just that. The legislation, which bars union contracts from requiring non-union members to pay fees for representation, makes Indiana the first state in more than a decade to enact right to work legislation and the only one…

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Police officer suspended for “tweeting” while on duty

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL &#8211 A police officer has been suspended for using the Twitter social media network while on duty and to criticize his superiors. Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Luis Pagan was relieved of duties with pay effective Jan. 31. “Please be advised that effective Tuesday, January 31, 2012, Police Officer Luis Pagan has been relieved from duty with pay,” wrote Sergeant Dana Swisher, acting head of Fort Lauderdale…

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Chicago police sue newspaper over published photos of police

CHICAGO, IL &#8211 Five Chicago police officers have sued the Chicago Sun-Times over publishing photo lineups that included names and faces of the officers standing next to Richard J. Vanecko, former Mayor Richard Daley’s nephew. The federal lawsuit alleges that the newspaper violated the officers’ privacy by disclosing personal information on their drivers’ licenses, such as height and weight. The Sun-Times obtained the information from the Illinois Secretary of…

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Tacoma council accepts $1.6M in concessions to avoid firefighter layoffs

TACOMA, WA &#8211 As expected, Tacoma’s City Council accepted $1.6 million of concessions Tuesday from the city’s fire union aimed to help spare 44 firefighters from a first round of layoffs amid an ongoing budget crisis. But, just as they did when striking a similar deal with the police union last week, several council members stressed that public-safety jobs remain at risk amid more budget cuts still to come….

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Arizona Considering End To Collective Bargaining

Arizona’s Republican Legislature could virtually wipe out public employee unions in a sweeping new package of legislation far broader than the collective-bargaining bills that shut down Wisconsin’s Capitol last spring. The bills would: Make it illegal for government bodies to collectively bargain with employee groups. Public safety unions would be included in the ban. End the practice of automatic payroll deductions for union dues. Ban compensation of public employees…

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NYPD Officers Can’t Wear NYPD Hats

NEW YORK, NY &#8211 The NYPD really has turned into the fashion police. A new order from Commissioner Raymond Kelly bans city cops from wearing merchandise emblazoned with the NYPD logo. That has union officials fuming, saying the rule violates police officers’ civil rights. The interim order, issued Jan. 19 and “effective immediately,” prohibits the city’s 35,000 cops from wearing hats, T-shirts or anything else sporting the department’s insignia…

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South Bend firefighter to be demoted for taking cell phone video of fire

SOUTH BEND, IN &#8211 Does the punishment fit the crime? That is the question many South Bend firefighters are asking after one of their own was demoted. The firefighter now faces a possible 30-day suspension for taking cell phone video of the latest Park Jefferson Apartment Fires, something South Bend Fire Chief Howard Buchanon said goes against the duty manual and the department’s newly implemented Facebook policy. According to…

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Town Adopts 24-hour shift Over Objection Of Firefighters

NORTH KINGSTOWN, RI &#8211 Residents, firefighters and their families took to the microphone for 40 minutes Monday night, pleading their case against 24-hour-long shifts for the North Kingstown Fire Department. In the end, the North Kingstown Town Council narrowly approved the change to town law with a 3-2 vote – Democrats Michael Bestwick and Charles Brennan opposing. The measure reduces the North Kingstown Fire Department from four platoons to…

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City slashes pensions for new firefighters

ESCONDIDO, CA &#8211 Escondido firefighters said Monday they have agreed to cut retirement benefits for new employees by 33 percent, a concession that city officials say will rein in long-term labor costs. The move follows identical pension rollbacks for firefighters approved by Carlsbad and Solana Beach in 2010. Poway, San Marcos and Encinitas have also overhauled pensions for newly hired firefighters, but those cities increased the retirement age from…

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Jury awards $189,000 to two firefighters over workplace retaliation claims

TAMPA, FL &#8211 A federal jury on Monday awarded $189,000 to two Pasco firefighters after determining the local firefighters union and the county retaliated against the two men for filing discrimination claims. Most of the verdict – $166,000 – was assessed against the International Association of Firefighters Local 4420 for publishing a legal memo in April 2008 that named the two firefighters and called their claims “frivolous.” The county’s…

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