Letter in support of H.R. 980

02/13/2007

13 February 2007

The Honorable Dale Kildee and John J. Duncan, Jr.
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representatives Kildee and Duncan,

I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to thank you both for cosponsoring H.R. 980, the “Public Employer-Employee Cooperation Act.” Passage of this legislation is one of the highest priorities for our organization.

The bill would recognize the fundamental right of public safety employees—primarily law enforcement officers and firefighters—to form and join unions and bargain collectively with their employers over wages, hours, and working conditions without undermining existing State collective bargaining laws. Because this right has not been recognized, public safety employees are denied any opportunity to influence the decisions which affect our careers and livelihoods. Public safety occupations are unique, and their labor relations need to reflect that. This legislation would empower the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) to govern the labor-management relationship in those few cases where State laws are not in substantial compliance with the bill's basic, minimal requirements.

The legislation does not require binding arbitration and specifically prohibits strikes and lockouts and would not change any State's existing right-to-work laws.

The men and women in law enforcement who put their lives on the line every day to protect our streets and neighborhoods have a right to be involved in the decisions which affect their livelihoods—something they cannot do as long as they are prohibited from exercising their rights at the bargaining table. On behalf of the more than 325,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I want to thank you both for your leadership and commitment to this critically important piece of legislation. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco at my Washington office.

Sincerely,

Chuck Canterbury
National President