COLORADO SPRINGS – Colorado Springs voters will soon decide whether firefighters will have the ability to collectively bargain with city government.
IAFF Local 5, the union representing Colorado Springs firefighters, collected some 33,000 signatures in support of their ballot initiative for collective bargaining. The city clerk’s office validated more than 16,000 signatures, which were more than required, to officially get on the April municipal ballot.
In Tuesday’s meeting, the council formally referred the initiative to the ballot, as is required by the city’s charter. It passed by an 8-1 vote. Councilman Tom Strand was the lone dissenter.
John Roy, deputy campaign manager with Local 5, has said from the beginning that the campaign is focused on getting firefighters a seat at the table on public safety talks on matters like an apparatus plan, staffing and more.
“This is about solidifying that voice for firefighters. We feel firefighters are a valuable.. they have valuable insight to the community. They have valuable insight about the fire department. They’re the ones stepping on and off the fire engine every single day,” Roy said.
Firefighters will continue to spread that message through door knocking events leading up to Election Day.
Opponents, including Mayor John Suthers, fear granting firefighters collective bargaining will create a slippery slope effect with other city employees, like police officers, utility linemen and more. Suthers has said previously he fears the decision would ultimately cost the city more money too.
The election is set for April 2.