City council votes to repeal collective bargaining for some workers

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – In a 7-2 vote Tuesday night, Fort Wayne City Council approved an ordinance that will remove collective bargaining for some city workers. Council members had three ordinances to vote on Tuesday that would affect collective bargaining rights for most of the city’s union workers.

An ordinance to combine unions for some non-public safety unions and another to repeal bargaining rights for police and firefighters was tabled in committee for consideration at council’s June 10 meeting.

John Shoaff (D-at-large) voted to remove collective bargaining rights in the first ordinance, but only to invoke a parliamentary procedure that will reconsider the vote June 10.

“Two weeks, I’ll come back, make the motion to reconsider and it could, if everyone shows, reopen the debate,” said Shoaff.

The move allows Shoaff, who voted in the affirmative, to change his vote. Thus, the move delays any action on the bill for two weeks. Dr. John Crawford, who co-authored all three ordinances, expects the same outcome of Tuesday’s meeting in a couple weeks.

“We’ll see what happens,” Crawford said. “We’ll probably just go through the same discussion again.”

Shoaff voted against the ordinance in committee, but switched his vote in the regular session to allow for the move, known as a motion to reconsider.

Councilmembers Marty Bender (R-At-large), John Crawford (R-At-large), Tom Smith (R-1st), Russ Jehl (R-2nd), Tom Didier (R-3rd), and Mitch Harper (R-4th) all voted in favor of the ordinance. Councilmembers Geoff Paddock (D-5th) and Glynn Hines (D-6th) voted against the measure. Hines believes this is a political stunt.

“The driving motivation that I believe is the republican convention which is coming to town, and they want to be able to rally around and say they got a victory against the working man,” he said.

Russ Jehl, co-author of two of three ordinances, said timing of these ordinances had nothing to do with the convention.

“The timing has to do with the fact that all the union contracts are terminated and that’s what brought about timing,” said Jehl.

Democratic Mayor Tom Henry said he will veto any of the ordinances if they fall on his desk. Council would need six votes to override a veto.

The motion to reconsider will be brought up June 10 and, if approved, a second vote would take place. If the outcome of the vote still passes the measure, Mayor Henry would not able to veto the ordinance until June 24.

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