Will voters give firefighters collective bargaining power? 

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Voters will decide at the April 2 city election whether to allow firefighters collective bargaining power. Firefighters petitioned the measure onto the ballot and plan to spend $250,000 on a campaign labeled, “Firefighters for a Safer Colorado Springs.”

According to a campaign finance report filed Jan. 14, the committee has raised $221,000 — most from Colorado Springs Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 5. Colorado Professional Firefighters in Denver gave $30,000. The committee has spent about $207,000 on polling, consulting and petitioning.

Firefighters argue they haven’t had a meaningful seat at the budgeting table and, hence, are short-staffed and face safety issues on the job. Even if approved, the ballot measure would not give firefighters the right to strike.
The measure is opposed by the mayor. And the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and EDC — whose operations have been bolstered by at least $920,000 from city taxpayers from 2016 through 2019 — has formed the Citizens Against Public Employee Unions committee to actively fight the initiative.

“We don’t believe unions are right for our community,” the Chamber’s Rachel Beck tells the Indy via email. “Unionizing one group of public employees will lead to more contentious relationships and additional costs to taxpayers, and that erodes our competitive advantage.”

The Chamber group hasn’t filed a campaign finance report as of the Indy’s press time. Beck says details of the 
campaign haven’t been determined.

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