Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2007
The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2007, introduced in the 110th Congress,(H.R. 980, S. 2123) proposed to establish minimum standards for state collective bargaining laws for public safety officers.
- The right to join a union and have the union recognized by the employer
- The right of public safety officers to bargain over wages, hours, and working conditions
- A dispute resolution mechanism, such as fact finding or mediation
- Enforcement of contracts through state courts
Although the Act would allow the parties to seek mediation to resolve their differences, it would not force employers into binding arbitration.
The Federal Labor Relations Authority shall, within 180 days of enactment, make a determination as to whether a State substantially provides for the rights and responsibilities described in the Act.
The Federal Labor Relations Authority shall have the authority to:
- Determine the appropriateness of units for labor organization representation
- Supervise or conduct elections to determine whether a labor organization has been selected as an exclusive representative by a voting majority of the employees
- Resolve issues relating to the duty to bargain in good faith
- Conduct hearings and resolve complaints of unfair labor practices
- Resolve exceptions to the awards of arbitrators
- Protect the right of each employee to form, join, or assist any labor organization, or to refrain from any such activity, freely and without fear of penalty or reprisal, and protect each employee in the exercise of such right
- Take such other actions as are necessary and appropriate to effectively administer the Act
On October 1, 2007, the Senate version of the bill (S.2123) was introduced by Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA) with 10 Republican cosponsors. However, on December 14, 2007, the Act was offered and later withdrawn as an amendment to the 2007 U.S. Farm Bill with opposition led by Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Mike Enzi (R-WY).
On May 14, 2008, the Senate held a procedural vote to begin debate on the bill. While the 69-29 tally seemed to indicate the bill would pass the Senate by a veto-proof margin, Senate Democrats dropped the bill May 15, 2008 after Republicans complained they didn't have enough time to offer amendments. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he did not have enough votes to force final consideration of the bill. According to a press release by the IAFF, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced a non-germane motion to attach Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) GI Bill of Rights to S.2123. The press release refers to the motion as "a move designed both to sidetrack debate on the bill and boost the candidacy of presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain." The maneuvering prompted angry rebuke from Senator Kennedy on the Senate floor. "We have seen this parliamentary gimmick that has taken place offered by the Republican leadership that is a slap in the face to every firefighter and police officer and first responder in the country." Kennedy also questioned whether or not John McCain approved the Republican's strategy. In spite of the apparent discord, Senator Reid has indicated that the bill is not dead and that Democrats and Republicans will be able to work out a bipartisan deal on how to handle amendments.
The bill is a top legislative priority of the International Association of Fire Fighters, International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO, and Fraternal Order of Police.  The bill is also supported by the National Association of Police Organizations and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.
The National League of Cities, the National Sheriffs' Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Association of Counties, the National Right to Work Committee, the National Alliance for Worker and Employer Rights, the National Public Employer Labor Relations Association, the International Public Management Association for Human Resources, and the International Municipal Lawyers Association are lobbying against the bill. The Heritage Foundation has been particularly critical, and claims that the bill is part of an attack on volunteer fire departments. However, The National Volunteer Fire Council wrote an article published in Fire Engineering magazine explaining how the NVFC worked diligently with Senate staff to include language in the Senate version of the bill that protects the right of career firefighters to volunteer during off-duty hours.
- Collective bargaining
- Right-to-work law
- At-will employment
- Federal Labor Relations Authority
- Department of Public Safety
- "H.R. 980, The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2007," WashingtonWatch.com, Accessed July 6, 2007.
- "Collective bargaining - legislative fact sheet," International Association of Fire Fighters, Accessed July 6, 2007.
- "Public Safety Workers Closer to Collective Bargaining," Fire Chief, June 21, 2007. Accessed July 31, 2007.
- Kirstin Downey, "Va. Has Big Stake in Bill on Public Safety Unions," The Washington Post, August 1, 2007. Accessed August 2, 2007.
- "Municipal Unions Lose Senate Battle," The New York Times, November 7, 2001. Accessed July 6, 2007.
- "Firefighters Close to Gaining Senate Vote on Collective Bargaining Bill," U.S. Conference of Mayors, June 3, 2002. Accessed July 6, 2007.
- "House Labor Committee Approves Bill to Extend Collective Bargaining Rights to Public Safety Workers in all 50 States," Press release from the United States House Committee on Education and Labor, June 20, 2007. Accessed July 29, 2007.
- 110th Congress / House / 1st session / Vote 633," Washington Post, July 25, 2007.
- "Anti-Labor Senators Derail Fire Fighter Bargaining Bill," International Association of Fire Fighters, Accessed January 14, 2008.
- Straub N, "Enzi vs. Kennedy: Senators part ways over bill for public safety labor unions," Star-Tribune, May 15, 2008. Accessed May 16, 2008.
- "Democrats drop first-responder bill," The Associated Press, May 15, 2008. Accessed May 16, 2008.[dead link]
- "Collective Bargaining Bill Delayed By Partisanship," International Association of Fire Fighters, May 16, 2008. Accessed May 16, 2008.
- "GOP Uses GI Bill As A ‘Political Gimmick’ On Senate Floor To Thwart Passage Of First Responder Legislation," Think Progress, Accessed May 17, 2008.
- "Senators Seek Deal on Bargaining Rights for First Responders," CQ Politics, May 16, 2008. Accessed May 17, 2008.
- "Collective Bargaining," International Association of Fire Fighters, Accessed January 14, 2008.
- Kevin O'Connor, "Statement of Mr. Kevin O'Connor, Assistant to the General President, International Association of Fire Fighters, on H.R. 980 the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act," testimony to the United States House Committee on Education and Labor posted at the International Association of Fire Fighters, Accessed July 30, 2007.
- Letter to Senator Reid and McConnell regarding the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2007 (HR980) from I.U.P.A. International President Sam Cabral, May 9, 2008. Accessed March 11, 2010.
- "FOP's Collective Bargaining Bill Passes House!" Press release from the Fraternal Order of Police, July 17, 2007. Accessed July 29, 2007.
- "House Passes Public Safety Collective Bargaining Bill," NAPO Official Website, Accessed September 10, 2007.
- "AFSCME Provides Support for Collective Bargaining for Public Safety Officers," Statement for the record on behalf of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees before the subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions, Committee on Education and Labor, U.S. House of Representatives, on the Public Safety Officers Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, H.R. 980, June 5, 2007; AFSCME Official Website, Accessed September 10, 2007.
- "House Approves Public Safety Collective Bargaining Bill," Oklahoma Municipal League Official Website, Accessed July 28, 2007.
- "Committee Asks for White House Veto Pledge," National Right to Work Committee Official Website, Accessed July 28, 2007.
- "House Approves Bill to Require Collective Bargaining For State and Local Public Safety Employees," National Public Employer Labor Relations Association, Accessed July 30, 2007.
- Neil E. Reichenberg, "Statement on the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act H.R. 980," International Public Management Association for Human Resources posted by the United States House Committee on Education and Labor, Accessed July 30, 2007.
- "Group letter against H.R. 980," National Alliance for Worker and Employer Rights, July 16, 2007. Accessed November 7, 2007.
- James Sherk, "Congress may turn up heat on volunteer firemen," The Pueblo Chieftain, October 6, 2007. Accessed October 12, 2007.
- "National Volunteer Fire Council on article regarding collective bargaining legislation," Fire Engineering, Accessed January 14, 2008.
- Full text of H.R. 980 from The Library of Congress
- How members voted from Project Vote Smart
- H.R. 980 Cost Estimate from the Congressional Budget Office
- "Collective Bargaining Rights for Public Safety Workers," The Gavel - U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's blog
- Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act (H.R. 980) YouTube Video prepared by the House Committee on Education and Labor
- "The Public Safety Employer–Employee Cooperation Act Removes State Flexibility," The Heritage Foundation, July 6, 2007. Accessed July 25, 2007.
- "A poor bargain," The Washington Times, July 6, 2007. Accessed July 25, 2007.