Fort Wayne Indiana City Council Rejects Arbitration for City Workers
After ending collective bargaining for non-public safety municipal employees last year, the Fort Wayne Indiana recently also rejected a proposal to settle labor disputes through a binding arbitration process. Supporters of the failed motion believe the city’s workers lack any sort of protection, and need tools to be able to bring grievances to the city and have them treated fairly.
After the end of collective bargaining, unions were assured that a new grievance system would be adopted. A temporary system has been in use, but the unions and workers do not have any faith in it, with several employees claiming they have tried it with no result, and that managers continue an atmosphere of intimidation.
City Council representatives, however, have stated that binding arbitration would be “terrible public policy.” They also defended the temporary grievance system as effective. Several council members described the arbitration proposal as a “Trojan Horse” designed to allow the unions to take control of the city. They did not elaborate on how, exactly this would be the case, but presumably they believe the arbitration process would go unfairly against the city’s interests.
Opponents are pinning their hopes on the elections in November and are making an effort to make the loss of collective bargaining and the rejection of arbitration a hot-button issue they hope with spark a voter revolt. However, there is no clear indication if the issue of collective bargaining rights for city workers is an issue of concern for most voters.