Today, Representative Susan Wild (PA-07) co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to guarantee that all state and city fire fighters and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel can exercise their labor rights. The bill is led by Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01).
The Fire Fighters and EMS Employer-Employee Cooperation Act would set a federal floor on labor rights for fire fighters and EMS personnel by allowing them to form a labor union and collectively bargain with their employer on wages and hours. Currently, 16 states do not provide all state and local public safety employees the ability to collectively bargain for fair wages and hours, while five of those states prevent them from even forming a labor union.
Under this legislation, the Federal Labor Relations Authority would have three months to determine which states do not provide the baseline labor rights. This includes providing these workers the ability to form and join a labor union, collectively bargain regarding hours, wages and terms and conditions of employment. States would then have two years to comply.
"Our nation's fire fighters and EMS personnel have more than earned the right to form a union, collectively bargain, and reinforce their workers' rights," said Rep. Wild. "The Fire Fighters and EMS Employer-Employee Cooperation Act will help make sure that the hardworking Americans who keep us safe every day are empowered with a strong union to reinforce their rights and allow them to collectively bargain for fair wages. I am proud to join my colleagues Rep. Kildee and Rep. Fitzpatrick to put forth this important legislation."
"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."
"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 legislation is led by Congressman Kildee and Congressman Fitzpatrick, and Rep. Wild is joined as original co-sponsor by 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.