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Bill axing binding arbitration for cities, firefighters, awaiting review

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By Cowboy State Daily

A bill aimed at eliminating binding arbitration as a way to resolve conflicts between firefighters and cities around the state is waiting for its first review on the House floor.

HB 271 would make all arbitration between cities and firefighters non-binding, an option backers find attractive because it avoids the need for third-party intervention in a conflict.

“I think it’s favorable from a municipality perspective,” said Rick Kaysen, director of the Wyoming Association of Municipalities. “It allows them to control their budgets, perhaps work on working conditions, but still support the firefighters, because firefighters are a very important part of our communities.”

Opponents, such as Kim Floyd of the AFL-CIO, said the binding arbitration has worked well in the state is necessary because firefighters can’t go on strike due to the nature of their job.

Floyd said the matter came to the Legislature because health insurance benefits negotiated by Cheyenne and its firefighters cost more than was expected.

“What we have here is a mayor that lost and she’s mad and she doesn’t know why she lost and who she should be mad at,” he said. “It’s her city folks that didn’t address this in negotiations.”

The bill is listed on the “General File,” the bills that have been returned to the House by committees for a review by the full body. Any bills on that list not reviewed by the end of business Monday will die.

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