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Mayor vetoes safety-workers ordinance

Mayor Tom Henry, surrounded by police officers and two city councilmen, stamped his veto Friday to a right-to-work ordinance affecting city police that City Council passed 6-2 last week.

The ordinance states that the city could not make membership in a union or labor organization a requirement of employment. The council is expected to vote on the veto Tuesday.

“To my knowledge, no council member ever talked with the police unions about a plan to amend this ordinance; no warning was given,” Henry said. “I truly believe this is bad governing. This ordinance alienates those who put their lives on the line to keep all of us safe.”

At Henry’s side were councilmen Geoff Paddock, D-5th, and Glynn Hines, D-6th, who had opposed the legislation.

Paddock and Hines were taken by surprise when the amended ordinance came to the table with “no discussion,” Paddock said. “This has a negative effect on the police department and on unions,” he said.

“Morale is down among public safety employees,” Hines said. “They feel they are under attack, collective bargaining is under attack and unions are under attack.”

Henry said he “openly worked with the firefighters' union prior to the recent passage of their contract to eliminate the membership requirement because that is what they requested. Had the police unions asked for this, I would have respected their wishes and could have signed a letter of agreement with them as well.”

For more on this story, see Saturday’s print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit after 3 a.m. Saturday.