FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)- The chairman of the Allen County Republican Party is speaking out to members of the Fort Wayne City Council.
Steve Shine issued a letter Friday advising Republican council members on collective bargaining, which council members recently stripped away from non-public safety workers, and right-to-work issues. Council members recently passed a right to work bill eliminating the payment of union dues as a work requirement for police and firefighters.
In the two-page letter, he offered several suggestions for how to build on the recent reforms. Chief among the suggestions: implementing a new appeal procedure for city workers. His letter also addressed the need for union leaders to have access to their members on city property as well as allowing a voluntary union dues deduction from pay checks of police and firefighters.
“The greatest concern that has been expressed by city employees is whether or not they will have the venue or vehicle to voice their concerns,” Shine said.
Union leaders said they agree with some of the proposals in Shine’s letter.
“We’ve dealt with a few cases where union members were not allowed to have their union representative in the room when disciplinary hearings have been had, and that’s the major concern for employees right now,” Fort Wayne Firefighters Union president, Jeremy Bush, said. “It’s not about benefits. It’s about due process and protection.”
City leaders said they are already working on similar solutions to the ones proposed in the letter. In an e-mail statement, City of Fort Wayne spokesman, John Perlich said “Much of what appears to be proposed in the letter is already in place or is in the process of being addressed due to the commitment of Mayor Henry’s administration to ensure that employees are protected following the actions of Council.” Also, Mayor Henry sent an internal memo to his staff on July 14th stating that all grievances filed before collective bargaining was officially stripped away on June 24th will be processed under the former union contract.
Councilman Russ Jehl called Shine’s letter “friendly and helpful”, and union leaders have also expressed their support.
“The Republican Party, we know that we stand for fiscal responsibility,” Jehl said. “The question is now do we also stand for common sense, and I think Chairman Shine was just making sure to point out that there’s an opportunity to go beyond fiscal responsibility.”
The full text of the letter is in the attachment below: