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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Update on Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act- Senate Bill 3991

By: Tommy Eden, Attorney

Today in the United States Senate the public safety officers collective bargaining bill (S. 3991) failed to win cloture (60 votes are needed) by a 55-43 vote (view the voting list), with three Democrats joining Republicans in blocking a vote on the bill. The three democrats are Sen. Michael Bennett (D-Colo.), Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.). Both Alabama Senators Shelby and Sessions voted with the Republicans in blocking the vote. The bill, if enacted, would have required mandatory collective bargaining by firefighters, police officers and EMT personnel. This should end the bill’s chances of passing for this year, and because of the make-up of the new Congress, probably for years to come.

Common Sense Counsel: because of the overwhelming messages received by the Senators opposing this bill in the past few weeks, Harry Reid has now lost in his attempt to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Mandatory Collective Bargaining for Police, Fire and EMTs. It might be a good time to communicate with some of the Senators and say thanks, or at least put them on your Christmas card list. I can guarantee you it will not be the last time employers will need these Senators to stand in the gap for common sense legislation. You can send them an e-mail at

Tommy Eden is a Lee County native, an attorney with the local office of Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP and a member of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and serves on the Board of Directors for the East Alabama SHRM Chapter. He can be contacted at or 334-246-2901. Blog at