FORT WAYNE – Union members fighting the end of collective bargaining for many city employees are holding a picnic Saturday and you’re invited.
Billed as a picnic, fundraiser and public information session, the event is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Freimann Square, where union officials will talk about their belief that collective bargaining is being repealed to make it easier to privatize City Utilities.
The Fort Wayne City Council voted along party lines to end collective bargaining for the six unions that do not represent police and firefighters, a move Mayor Tom Henry vetoed Friday. The council’s six Republicans backed the ordinance; it takes six votes to override a veto. That vote is expected June 24.
In a full-page ad in Sunday’s Journal Gazette, union officials alleged the push to end collective bargaining is part of an effort to sell City Utilities to a private corporation.
The City of Fort Wayne has no interest in privatizing our award-winning water and sewer services, Henry and City Utilities Director Kumar Menon said in a joint statement issued Monday. Private utilities focus on shareholders and profit margins. Our commitment is to our customers and employees.
The statement said the debate shows the damage the collective bargaining repeal has already done. The questions that have been brought forward are clear examples of how divisive the efforts by City Council to end collective bargaining for non-public safety union employees have become, the statement said. These attempts at distraction do not assist our collective efforts to invest in the future, attract and retain businesses and jobs, and be a leader in quality of life and neighborhood enhancements.