Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, introduced bipartisan legislation that would ensure city and state fire fighters and EMS Personnel can exert their labor rights.
"Our fire fighters and EMS personnel stepped up to serve their community and when we need help, they answer our call. They have earned the right to form a union and collectively bargain for fair hours and wages. I'm proud to stand with our first responders and Representative Kildee to introduce this important legislation," said Congressman Fitzpatrick.
The Fire Fighters and EMS Employer-Employee Cooperation Act would allow fire fighters and EMS Personnel to collectively bargain with their employers on hours and wages and form labor unions as well. There are still 5 states that do not allow public safety employees to form labor unions, while 16 states still do not allow them to collectively bargain for fair wages and hours.
With this Fitzpatrick-Kildee legislation, there would be a period of three months to determine which states do not provide the baseline labor rights by the Federal Labor Relations Authority. Under this provision, workers must be able to form and join labor unions, collectively bargain their wages, hours, and terms of employment. Moreover, the states would have to comply within two years.
"Strong labor unions and worker rights are essential for a fair economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top," Congressman Kildee said. "I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to make sure that America's fire fighters and emergency personnel have the right to form a union and fight for fair wages and safe working conditions. These men and women serve our communities every day, regardless of personal risk, and deserve critical workers' rights, including the ability to collectively bargain."
"Fire fighters and emergency medical personnel deserve to have a say in their own health and safety and that of the people they protect," said IAFF General President Edward A. Kelly. "This important legislation will guarantee that right in all 50 states, including for the 80,000 fire fighters and EMS personnel currently lacking such rights, and provides a needed voice for the hard working men and women who dedicate their careers to keeping their communities safe."
In addition to Congressman Fitzpatrick and Congressman Kildee (MI-05), Reps. Rodney Davis (IL-13), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Teresa Leger Fernandez (NM-03), Kathy Manning (NC-06), Lucy McBath (GA-06), Frank Mrvan (IN-01), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09) and Susan Wild (PA-07) are cosponsors of the legislation.