May 10, 2007
More City of Austin workers would have the right to meet and confer with the city over employment issues under a proposal tentatively approved by the House on Thursday night.House Bill 2184 by Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, is identical to a Senate-approved measure by Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, suggesting the expanded bargaining opportunity has a good shot at passing into law.Dukes said the change, supported by the Austin City Council, advanced after supporters persuaded anti-union legislators to let it reach the floor. Her proposal had rested before the House Committee on Calendars since April 3. “We’ve been working pretty hard to get this done,” Dukes said.Firefighters and police officers of the City of Austin are already covered by meet and confer and/or collective bargaining law. No such provisions cover employment issues affecting Austin’s other municipal employees. Affected issues include wages, hours, working conditions and all other terms and conditions of employment, and prohibits strikes and work stoppages by employees who participate in the organizations.