Firefighters seek collective bargaining, raise money for campaign


The Waldo Canyon Fire roars into the city in June 2012. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • The Waldo Canyon Fire roars into the city in June 2012.

Local firefighters aren't giving up on their desire to secure the right to collectively bargain with the city on pay and benefits.

As we reported in June, Colorado Springs Professional Firefighters Association Local 5 wants to be able to negotiate on behalf of its members. The city says it considers a state Senate bill that enables collective bargaining not applicable, because it is a home rule city.

Nevertheless, Local 5 is proceeding toward a ballot measure to put the question to voters, and firefighters are willing to put their money where their mouths are.

From Dave Noblitt, president of Local 5, via email:
We did have a special election over the summer to support a $200,000 plus assessment of our members to fund the measure. With a self imposed 51% participation of members involved for the vote to be considered valid, we were supported by almost 70% with over 220 members voting and a unanimous "yes" vote in moving forward. With the state association and the International lending their support, we are looking at a half million dollar campaign budget in moving forward. 

Noblitt goes on to say Local 5 will seek support from City Council in 2018 and community groups for its ballot measure, which might appear on either the November 2018 ballot or the city ballot in April 2019.

A slight pay raise for firefighters is included in Mayor John Suthers' proposed 2018 budget. If voters approve on Nov. 7 of a proposal to charge residents stormwater fees, that would free up general fund money for additional raises and to add personnel to the Fire Department, starting when the fees would begin, July 1, 2018.

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