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Election Watch: Voters reject collective bargaining for Colorado Springs firefighters

Posted at 7:59 PM, Apr 02, 2019


COLORADO SPRINGS – A ballot initiative to give Colorado Springs firefighters a larger say on how their department fell on the losing side tonight.

As of unofficial results at 9:15 p.m., more than 68% of voters opposed the idea.  That’s 57,904 with a No vote, 26,634 with a Yes vote.

Final election results

City elections officials will continue to release numbers through the evening. Right now there is a 32% voter turnout.

MORE: Colorado Springs Municipal Election results

Colorado Springs Firefighters, the local chapter of the International Association of Firefighters, sought the power to collectively bargain with city leaders on matters including budgets, standards, pay, and benefits. The ballot question fell, only gaining xx percent of the vote.

Mayor John Suthers and the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce served as the main opponents to the initiative. Suthers touted his work all along to meet with firefighters every quarter to discuss the department’s challenges, calling the collective bargaining initiative unnecessary.

Suthers also voiced his concerns that other city employees, including police officers, foresters and utility linemen, would seek the same collective bargaining privilege if the firefighters’ initiative passed.

Firefighters wanted the agreement to have a better say on matters including equipment standards, standard operating procedures and more. Many of the department’s front-line apparatus, including engines and trucks, are well past industry standards on age and mileage.

In 2017, firefighters worked 11,000 hours of mandatory overtime.

It’s unclear where relations between the firefighters’ union and the city go from here.