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Texas AFL-CIO Backs Houston Firefighter Arbitration Bill

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News Release

Contacts: Rick Levy,
or Leonard Aguilar or Ed Sills,
(512) 477-6195;
Sills cell: (512) 695-1148

Texas AFL-CIO Backs Houston Firefighter Arbitration Bill

  The Texas AFL-CIO today endorsed a bill that would create an arbitration panel to deliver a contract between the Houston Professional Firefighters Association and the City of Houston.

  Firefighters have worked without an agreement since 2017, and resulting turnover has compromised public safety by depleting the department to its lowest level in 20 years. SB 736 by Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, would require arbitration to end the impasse.

  “We thank Sen. Whitmire for filing a bill that would provide a direct path to a long-overdue fair contract for firefighters in Houston,” Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy said. 

  “We reject arguments by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner that arbitration would harm the city’s interest,” Levy said. “Arbitration is a time-honored method of breaking impasses that takes all interests into account and has been routinely used in the past to settle Firefighter contract disputes in Houston. Firefighters cannot strike. Without arbitration, their power to bargain a contract would be gutted.”

At the request of union President Marty Lancton, the United Labor Legislative Committee voted unanimously to support the bill.

  For more information on SB 736, see:

  The Texas AFL-CIO is the state labor federation consisting of 240,000 affiliated union members who advocate for working families in Texas.