Dear Representatives Stauber and Kildee,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our strong support for H.R. 3539, the “Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act,” which is one of our top priorities.
This legislation 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. Because this right has not been recognized in every State, public safety employees are too often denied any opportunity to influence the decisions which affect their careers and livelihoods. They have no way to make their voices heard on issues that impact their personal safety or the safety of those they protect.
Public safety occupations are unique, and their labor relations need to reflect that. The legislation would empower the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) to govern the labor-management relationship in those cases where State laws are not in substantial compliance with the bill’s basic, minimal requirements. The bill specifically prohibits strikes and lockouts and would not change any State’s existing right-to-work laws nor undermine existing State collective bargaining laws.
The men and women in our nation’s police and fire departments put their lives on the line every day to protect our streets and neighborhoods and they have a right to be involved in the decisions which affect them-something they cannot do as long as they are prohibited from exercising their rights at the bargaining table.
On behalf of the more than 367,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I thank you both for your leadership on this important issue. If I can provide any additional information about this bill, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington, D.C. office.