EMS Bargaining Power – At Budget Time
Austin EMS employees likely to receive bargaining power – while the city looks to cut public safety spending.
By Wells Dunbar,
11:15AM, Wed. May 2, 2007
While we're truly in the waning days of the Lege, where bills drop like dead birds along Congress, some Austin-centric legislation has wound its way from the Senate to the House, with a fair chance of getting passed – and it's not bad either. Senate Bill 1104, penned by Sen. Kirk Watson, allows meet-and-confer contract negotiations for Austin's EMS employees. Seems only fair, since both Police and Fire departments have the same bargaining rights; 1104 would round out the public-safety trifecta. As identical legislation from Rep. Elliott Naishtat sailed out of the House Urban Affairs committee – where 1104 is being heard today – hopefully this means the bill will make it to the House floor, then to the Guv's desk.
Of course, tomorrow at City Council comes the five-year financial forecast; advance word is it paints a rainy picture, focusing on budget shortfalls created by the APD's cush contract. With the city likely budget cinching, it'll be interesting – to say the least – to see what another group with bargaining power adds to the mix.