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Mayor calls for study on unions

But decries ‘rushed’ efforts to undo collective bargaining


– Despite wanting to create a commission to study collective bargaining, Mayor Tom Henry’s position on three ordinances being hotly debated among city councilmen remains the same.

If those ordinances – which would limit or eliminate collective bargaining for many city unions – come across his desk, he will veto them.

“The mayor’s position has not changed,” said his spokesman, John Perlich.

Still, Henry would like a committee to study collective bargaining, he said Friday.

In a statement, Henry said he’s been “concerned by the rushed approach and nature of the three collective bargaining ordinances that have been presented.”

He also said the community had “been pulled into an unnecessary, divisive issue that threatens collective bargaining rights of our award-winning city employees.”

Councilmen John Crawford, R-at large, and Russ Jehl, R-2nd, proposed the ordinances that are causing the stir among unions.

One would eliminate collective bargaining for all non-public safety employees.

Another would eliminate collective bargaining rights for the six non-public safety unions and replace them with two unions created by the city – one for City Utilities workers and another for civil city employees.

A third proposal would eliminate all nine unions, including those for police and firefighters.

Only Crawford is proposing the third option.

Crawford did not have much to say regarding the mayor’s statement Friday.

He said the idea of a committee to study collective bargaining could be brought up Tuesday during City Council’s next meeting.

Initially, he expected the proposed ordinances to be voted on, he said.

“It should be an interesting Tuesday,” Crawford said.