FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – It was another packed room Tuesday night at city council. The big issue once again was whether or not council would vote to eliminate or significantly change collective bargaining with city employees and their unions.
Three presentations were made at the meeting. One by Councilman John Crawford, an author of all three ordinances.
Also presenting at the meeting was Tim Pape and Mark GiaQuinta, both men are former councilmen. Pape spoke on behalf of Mayor Tom Henry, who has said he would veto all three ordinances if they were approved by council. Click here to read more about why.
GiaQuinta spoke on behalf of the unions.
“[City workers] want to have somebody at the table,” GiaQuinta said during his presentation. “They want them seated at the table, on a day where that person is there for them and they’re not down the sewer.”
GiaQuinta and Pape said part of the city’s recent success was due to the work of city employees. Crawford agreed that the city has done well.
“My contention has never been that we aren’t doing well,” Crawford said. “It’s my contention that we can do even better for the taxpayer without collective bargaining.”
After the three presentations, each council member was allowed to comment on the issue.
“I am not a union member,” stated councilman Marty Bender during the meeting, who had not commented on the issue before Tuesday’s meeting. “I’ve never been a union member. I will not be abstaining from this vote. I look forward to a lively discussion next week.”
Bender was one of four Republican councilmen who entering the night had not clearly stated where they would vote next week. NewsChannel 15 asked to speak with Bender after the meeting, but he refused to speak about it.
Tom Smith made it more clear how he would vote at council’s May 27 meeting. “I am leaning more and more towards, at least in part, eliminating at least some collective bargaining,” he said. “I’ve gotten so many emails and calls.”
The three Democratic councilmen – Glynn Hines, Geoff Paddock, and John Shoaff – all have said they would not support the ordinances. That stance stayed the same after Tuesday night.
Councilmen Tom Didier and Mitch Harper did not say how they would vote. Harper added that he wanted to bring up more issues at next week’s meeting.