Bill Introduced in Senate to Allow Collective Bargaining For Firefighters and EMS Nationwide

Colorado Senator John W. Hickenlooper and New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan have co-sponsored a bill that would “provide collective bargaining rights for fire fighters and emergency medical services personnel employed by States or their political subdivisions.” The bill titled “The Fire Fighters and EMS Employer-Employee Cooperation Act” was introduced on June 22, 2021 as S2178.

While most states allow public employees to collectively bargain under state law, the specific rights vary greatly. According to a press release issued by Senator Hassan: “In 16 states, public safety employees cannot collectively bargain for safe working conditions. In five states, they are unable to unionize altogether.”

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. A copy of the language in the bill is not available but is anticipated. It will be posted here when it becomes available. It will also be available at Congress.Gov and at BillTrack50.

UPDATE: Here is some additional information about the proposed legislation from the IAFF website.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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