Todd Marty: Vote no on Amendment 54
Vail, CO, Colorado
As the president of Eagle River Professional Firefighters Association, I must preface this letter by admitting that while we are members of the International Association of Fire Fighters, we are not recognized by the fire board and we do not work under a labor contract.
While we are biased to non support Amendment 54, we gain nothing if the amendment fails but we lose a potential opportunity to remain political should an agreement be struck between the firefighters and the fire board in the future. It is our belief that this amendment has the intent to bust public employee unions by taking away their right to remain an advocate for the citizens.
There are two components to Amendment 54. The first has to do with the relationship between any government organization and a private contractor entering into a no-bid contract with a value greater than $100,000. This amendment would bar the contractor plus their spouse, children, spouse’s child, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, stepbrother, stepsister, stepparent, parent-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, aunt, niece, nephew, guardian, or domestic partner from donating any money to any political entity within the state for the duration of the contract plus two years. This in itself is extreme.
The other part of Amendment 54 relates to public employee unions that work under a contract and include firefighters, police officers, teachers, mechanics, janitors, etc. Amendment 54 assumes that employees that work under a contract are working under a no-bid contract.
This is a problem and an obvious attack on unions. The passage of Amendment 54 would make it illegal for local unions representing public employees from contributing to any political causes while working under a contract.
The authors are attempting two kill two birds with one stone. We do not believe that private contractors and public employees are one and the same. Private contractors are not employees of the governing agency. The public employees are. Private contractors are hired to do one job or work for a period of time.
Public employees are employed indefinitely. Private contractors are essentially accepting a contract to better their private business financial standing. Public employees are employed to better the good of the citizens. If you agree with these ideals, then you must agree that the authors have lost sight of the intent of Amendment 54. There is nothing to hide when it comes to labor contracts between the employees and the government agency. All public employees salaries and benefits are available to the public for free or at a reasonable cost, including contracts.
It is vital that police, fire, and teacher unions remain political. We offer a point of view straight from the streets and classrooms. Teachers do not just negotiate salaries and benefits but also class sizes and planning time. Firefighters and police officers dont just negotiate competitive wages and benefits to curb turnover but also safety issues involving both employees and citizens. All of this relates directly to your childrens education and the publics overall safety.
It is for these reasons that we urge you to vote no on Amendment 54. If we lose our ability to protect ourselves, who will there be to protect you?
Todd Marty, President, Eagle River Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 4245
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