Senate to Vote on National Collective Bargaining Bill
December 12, 2007 -- The U.S. Senate will be considering the IAFF's national collective bargaining bill in the next few days, with a vote to follow. This is expected to be a very close vote, and your senators could be the deciding vote! The IAFF is encouraging all members to call their senators today and tell them to support America's fire fighters and police officers by voting in favor of the Harkin-Kennedy-Gregg "Fire Fighter" amendment to the Farm Bill.
“More than 80,000 IAFF members in 18 states do not currently enjoy basic employment rights,” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “The Harkin-Kennedy-Gregg ‘Fire Fighter’ amendment ensures that every fire fighter has the right to collectively bargain.”
Every Senate office has been educated on the issue. In every office, senators are already receiving dozens of calls -- from constituents in their states who oppose this bill. The IAFF needs to generate as many phone calls as possible in the next 24-48 hours to pass this vital legislation.
The International has fought for the last 12 years to bring this issue to a vote. “Please give five minutes of your time to call your senators and urge them to stand with their fire fighters and support the Harkin-Kennedy-Gregg amendment to the Farm Bill,” urges Schaitberger.
The Senate switchboard number is (202) 224-3121. Simply call this number and ask to be transferred to your senator's office.
“Together, we can achieve one of the biggest victories in the history of the IAFF,” says Schaitberger.
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Thread: Important Legislation
12-12-2007, 03:41 PM #1
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- Mar 2007
12-12-2007, 04:49 PM #2
Remember to call BOTH of your Senators' office, but don't waist your time or the staffers' time calling other Senators. Don't waste time with e-mails at this point, it won't be reviewed until after the vote. If they do not take your name and address, call back every hour. If they do take your information, thank them for THEIR dedication, thanks go a long way in a place where pay checks don't go far at all, as I know of no fire department who's starting pay is as low as a top paid congressional staff assisstant's.
12-14-2007, 03:59 PM #3
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- Mar 2007
On behalf of my fellow SC firefighters, I want to apologize for the actions of our Senator...
With the Senate on the verge of passing the IAFF’s national collective bargaining bill, a small group of hard-line anti-labor senators engaged in a series of parliamentary tactics late last night to block the Senate from acting. With no way to overcome the obstacles, the Senate was forced to postpone action on the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act until after the New Year.
“I am personally outraged that a small group of senators are denying the nation’s fire fighters the basic right to discuss how they do their job,” says IAFF General President Schaitberger. “But this battle is far from over. Ultimately, I promise that this legislation will be signed into law.”
Both Democratic and Republican Senate leadership had agreed to allow the IAFF's collective bargaining bill to be offered as an amendment to the comprehensive Farm bill, which the Senate had to finish before the Christmas break. With time running out in the legislative session, the Farm bill was one of the last legislative vehicles that was a “must” piece of legislation that could carry the proposal, while at the same time making it more difficult for the president to veto.
Prior to beginning debate on the Farm bill, the Senate unanimously agreed that each political party would be allowed to offer up to 20 amendments to the bill on any topic they chose, as long as those amendments were approved by a super-majority of 60 Senators. The two leading sponsors of the IAFF’s bargaining bill — Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA) — jointly agreed that the the collective bargaining bill would be offered as a Democratic amendment.
After more than two dozen amendments were debated and voted on, Democrats moved to bring up our amendment. To the surprise of leaders of both parties, anti-labor senators, led by Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Mike Enzi (R-WY), refused to honor the unanimous consent agreement which would allow the Senate to consider the amendment. Additionally, they vowed to engage in parliamentary guerilla tactics to tie the Senate in knots.
Complicating the process, five key Senate supporters of the collective bargaining proposal are spending most of their time in Iowa and New Hampshire as they run for president. DeMint and Enzi knew that the IAFF would have a hard time meeting the 60-vote threshold without Senators Biden, Clinton, Dodd, McCain and Obama. While the presidential candidates had agreed to return to Washington last night, canceling their scheduled events for a significant portion of today to vote on the amendment this morning, there was no way the Senate leadership on both sides of the aisles could put the presidential campaigns on hold to remain in Washington indefinitely.
With no way to circumvent the parliamentary hurdles that could have dragged on for a couple of days, Gregg and Kennedy were forced to withdraw their amendment.
“Our opponents may have delayed the inevitable outcome, which will be the passage of the Public Employer-Employee Cooperation Act,” Schaitberger says, “but we know that the will of the Congress, the continued support of the Senate leadership and the will of the American People cannot be thwarted for long. We will prevail and we will prevail in this 110th Congress.”
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