City Council overrides mayor’s veto on “right-to-work” ordinance

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  Fort Wayne City Council members have voted to override Mayor Tom Henry’s veto of an ordinance that would affect public safety workers’ right to belong to a union.

For the second time in just over a month, Fort Wayne City Council overrode Mayor Tom Henry’s veto, making police and fire union membership optional.

The council voted 6-3 to override the mayor’s veto Tuesday night.

At a meeting on July 8, Councilman Mitch Harper (R-4th District) introduced changes to a bill that would have repealed collective bargaining for the public safety unions. Councilman John Crawford (R-At-Large) originally introduced that proposal in May and it had been tabled. Harper changed it to take out doing away with collective bargaining and added the optional union membership.

“It protects all city employees. It protects those who choose to join a union from indiscriminate employment dismissal or harassment and it protects those who choose not to join a union,” Harper said then.

Click here to read more about the ordinance. 

To help get its new contract passed, the firefighters’ union created a letter of agreement with the council and the mayor, saying it would not recognize the part of its contract that mandates union membership. During the July 8 meeting, Councilman Harper added that the agreement would also include the police department.

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association is almost finished with its new contract and hopes it will be brought to city council by August 1. Now that council has overridden the veto, the contract could be held up.

The Fraternal Order of Police represents the police department’s sergeants and lieutenants. Those members wouldn’t be affected by the ordinance the way the PBA is affected.

The mayor’s office released this statement Tuesday night:

Tonight’s vote by six City Council members to override my veto of an ordinance affecting public safety employees is disappointing. Council’s actions on July 8 to amend and pass an ordinance with no advanced notice and no chance for input by the public or the Fort Wayne Police Department were unnecessary and unprofessional.

The public and our award-winning City employees deserve the opportunity to have an open discussion to see why Council continues to pass legislation that appears to advance their ideological and philosophical desires rather than meeting the needs of residents and businesses.

I want to applaud Councilmen Hines, Paddock, and Shoaff for voting against the veto override and continuing to stand up for what is right. I appreciate their leadership and commitment to City employees, residents, and businesses.

We must move forward to win the future by working together to make a meaningful difference and serve residents and businesses with the best services possible.

Let’s continue with the unprecedented momentum we’re seeing in Fort Wayne by investing in our future, attracting and retaining jobs, and remaining committed to enhancing our neighborhoods.

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