Romney opposes bargaining rights for fire fighters and police


Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has told an employee organization, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), that "I will oppose" expanding collective bargaining rights for public workers if he wins the White House.

Romney's statement, in a written response to an FOP questionnaire, is in line with his attempt, as Massachusetts governor, to strip Fire Fighters and police officers throughout the state of their collective bargaining rights.

It's also in line with current policy pushed in Republican-run states, notably Ohio and Wisconsin, to strip state and local workers of all collective bargaining rights. Romney backed the efforts. Labor beat back the attempt in Ohio, through a referendum that restored collective bargaining, by a 61%-39% margin, but it lost in Wisconsin.

FOP sent a wide-ranging questionnaire on workers' issues to both Romney and incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama. One key question stated FOP's support for the Employee-Employer Public Safety Cooperation Act, legislation pushed in Congress - principally by the Fire Fighters - to tell those states that ban collective bargaining with public safety workers that they cannot do so.

Obama supports the bill, said he would sign it when it reaches him, and reminded FOP he cosponsored it while he was a senator from Illinois. Romney said he opposes the legislation, but tried to soften his stand by surrounding it with praise for the FOP and a promise to "consult" with "all stakeholders" about other issues.

"I disagree with the Fraternal Order of Police on this point," Romney wrote. "I believe labor unions - including public employee unions - can be constructive forces in our communities and I would look forward to working closely with them as president." But he then quoted FDR, of all people, as saying collective bargaining "cannot be transplanted into the public service."

"I agree with this view, and I would not support an expansion of collective bargaining rights for public employees," Romney wrote.

Romney and Obama also split on whether first responders facing discipline by top brass should have due-process rights, another piece of legislation pushed by FOP. And they split, too, on pensions for public workers. Obama, again, was for due process, without any qualifications, and said he "supports continuation of defined benefit" - traditional - "pensions for all federal law enforcement employees."

Romney would leave due process for the first responders up to state and local governments, and wants to shift the workers into "defined contribution" pensions, which he claims would be less costly to taxpayers. Workers take the risk on those plans.

"I do not believe it is the place of the federal government to impose specific processes or standards on state and local governments," he wrote. "Local communities should be responsible for the management of their own public safety institutions, and I expect such local control will ultimately benefit not only the communities but also the law enforcement officers who serve them.

"Defined contribution (pension) plans help to control costs and protect future taxpayers, offer employees greater flexibility and choice, and avoid situations in which unfunded liabilities threaten both government budgets and retirement security. I would not seek to use the power of the federal government to prevent state or local governments from making this transition," Romney added.

Independent studies have shown that, with few exceptions, unfounded public worker pension liabilities do not threaten budgets. The threats come from declining state income tax and local property tax revenues, due to the Great Recession.

Photo: Peoplesworld


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  • If the police continue to support and vote for the GOP candidates, no one will sympathize or empathize with their children and spouses, when they complain about how their State Trooper or local police officer family member is being treated by the elected GOP governor like Chris Christie, who fired thousands of police officers in local communities and placed NJ State Troopers (and their car mechanics) on fourloughs, thereby forcing many to retire early to avoid receiving much less monetary compensation in the form of pension benefits. A canine dog obeys orders, but a canine dog of 120 to 130 pounds has a brain equaling the size of a petite woman's fist or smaller. As the saying goes, "God gave you are brain, use it." The general public does not respect those, who do not respect their own interests. If you do not respect your own interests, how can you respect the interests of the general public? The children of police officers and State Troopers start conjuring desires to have a revolution, when the notion of being forced to become an American expatriate is raised. The children of these police officers cannot afford university tuition. And yet, they refuse to acknowledge reality, where many young people are not being forced to go abroad to seek a university education. Many police officers are married to public school teachers. The stance of the Fraternity of Police does not make sense, considering the very fact that many are married to public school teachers.

    Posted by Renee Bouvier, 09/30/2012 2:25pm (3 years ago)

  • But he has no problam taking money from banks and oil companies no doubt.

    Posted by rds, 09/29/2012 7:21pm (3 years ago)

  • Guess I am voting for Obama

    Posted by Todd, 09/29/2012 7:15pm (3 years ago)

  • wow... talk about having no hope for a good president. !!

    I find it amazing that Romney is so anti Fire/police and Obama has been such a dismal failure. The future for Fire/police and their families does not look good.

    If Romney wins, Fire/police lose bargaining rights. If Obama wins, the economy gets worse and the USA get more and more in debt and the can gets kicke down the road some more.

    The future for ou kids is looking bleak.

    Posted by jeff p., 09/26/2012 1:52pm (3 years ago)

  • that's right republicans, tonight while your sleeping firefighters and police will be out there keeping you safe, so naturally your hypocrisy causes you to chum up for the press, while trying to eliminate our right to bargain for a fair standard of living…… Doc Holiday says, your hipocricy knows no bounds

    Posted by Dave Morris, 09/15/2012 6:02am (3 years ago)

  • We must get this information out to as any of our Family and friends, like we have done against SB5. And Remember we have the chance to elect 2 new Ohio Supreme Court judges Bill O'Neil, Mike Skindell, and return Yevette Mcgee to the Ohio Supreme court again. And just maybe we can stop Kasick on his "Fire" Sale of the State of Ohio. This Guy will stop at nothing to sell off our Schools, Prisions, Tunpike the list keeps growing.

    It is up to each and everyone of usto bring home this Victory in the swing stte of Ohio. My Union the Teamsters Will be united with that slate.

    Posted by Mark J Cleland Sr., 09/14/2012 11:11am (3 years ago)

  • I thought it was amusing that Obama supports due process when it comes to the jobs of police officers but not of US citizens before drone bombing them into oblivion.

    Posted by Will, 09/12/2012 2:30pm (3 years ago)

  • Is there any doubt that a Romney administration would favor the rich and increase the income gap in our country? Mitt is a pariah in Mormon Clothing and will stop at nothing to expand an empire of greed for the rich in this country by expanding tax cuts for the 1% of the wealthiest Americans. He’s out to gut the Middle Class for every red cent he can get. Will his sacred Mormon underwear grant him the protection and money to buy this election? See for yourself as Mitt dons his tighty-whities sent down from the Good Lord Himself at

    Posted by Brandt Hardin, 08/30/2012 7:07pm (3 years ago)

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