Firefighters, Police Rally In Lansing For PA 312 2-23-2011 - WNEM TV 5

Firefighters, Police Rally In Lansing For PA 312 2-23-2011

Firefighters and police officers across Michigan are in Lansing Wednesday to oppose any changes to a law that they say could put public safety jobs at risk, even if it gave local municipalities more power when trying to balance their budgets.
The repeal of Public Act 312 would give state-appointed officials the power to change or void collective bargaining agreements. The law has been in effect for more than 40 years.
"Without this law we would not be able to resolve an impasse when negotiating a contract which would disrupt public safety and deny us our rights,” event organizers said in a news release.
Gov. Snyder has said he supports giving municipalities more authority in contact negotiations and has said he would support changes in PA 312 -- also commonly called "binding arbitration."
West Bloomfield firefighters Peter Zarek and Todd Rogers said Wednesday that binding arbitration lets a neutral party decide what's fair in contracts with police and firefighter unions, ending stalemates.
VOTE: Do governmental employee unions have too much power? Should their ability to bargain be curtailed?
“It’s very important to us,” said Bay City firefighter Kurt Wagner. “It keeps police and firefighters on the road while contract negotiations continue and disputes come to a resolution without a strike or a stoppage of work.”
TV5's Brian Wood estimated the crowd's attendance at just over 1,000 people.
Snyder told the Michigan Society of Association Executives that his budget proposal is painful, but will get the state back on the right path. Most audience members listened politely, but not all supported his proposals.
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