If our National Bargaining Bill passes and is signed by the President, the impact on our National and State organization will be tremendous. Its chance of passage is very good. Whether the current national bill is successful or not; we will be moving forward on our already written Collective Bargaining bill again in the Colorado Legislature next session. The Colorado State FOP through its Labor Council is prepared for that eventuality. If the firefighters gain this right, barring a veto from the Governor then we stand ready to move locally on inclusion into any ordinance, code, or charter changes extending bargaining rights in jurisdiction where we have a lodge in place.
Many Lodges are interested in providing their members Labor Services and proper professional representation for their dues and have already joined the Labor Council. Unfortunately others have not. In light of the eventual passage of collective bargaining legislation both nationally, and next year here in Colorado, I cannot stress strongly enough the importance of local lodges preparing now for passage that legislation. The three most important areas that our membership wants action on is legal defense, labor, and legislative. I would submit to each member that the Lodges who fail to become active in representing their membership in these areas will have a hard time staying in existence once this becomes reality. There are other labor unions standing in the wings with their eyes on your Lodge and its members.
If you are not prepared and ready, you can almost guarantee yourselves that outside national labor organizations will be stepping into your jurisdiction with the money, resources, and propaganda to take your members and gain bargaining agent status in your jurisdiction on behalf of law enforcement. You may well find your FOP rapidly losing members, and on the outside looking in. There are plenty of examples of this around the country that currently have bargaining. We know that is the plan here in Colorado by the Teamsters, AFSCME and SEIU.
We have communications with those organizations and others in Colorado, and some of them have already told us they are ready to move on our FOP membership and potential membership statewide. It is not a secret! Sadly you will be hard pressed to do anything about that if you aren't ready for that challenge. Is your leadership experienced is this area? Can you transition seamlessly from a fraternal local organization to a labor organization? Do you have the experienced people in your lodge to make that transition? Are you as Lodge leadership willing to take that gamble? If so you had best be able to provide the labor services that match that of those seeking to move you aside.
The bottom line is your right to engage in bargaining is coming. It will be on your doorstep sooner than you think. Through its State FOP Labor Council the Colorado FOP has done, and will continuing to do what is necessary to prepare and assist its local lodges. However, each lodge must also do its part to ensure their members receive the best possible labor assistance available. Part of that preparation is open communications with your members on this matter, and taking the steps necessary to ensure your lodge, its leadership and members are ready both logistically and financially. Becoming a member of the Labor Council is the best chance most lodges have of making the transition and obtaining the resources needed to get the job done.
Fire fighters and police officers risk their lives every day to protect the public; they deserve the same right to discuss workplace issues with their employer that federal & state government grants to most other workers. Colorado FOP Labor Council Lodge membership provides a comprehensive set of resources and services designed to ensure that no local Lodge goes to the bargaining table alone. In addition, we provide assistance to your lodge to obtain the right to become your bargaining agent or to try to influence the public officials who determine your hours, wages, terms and other conditions of employment. Whether your Lodge requires contract information, experienced legal experts, grievance assistance or personalized labor research, the Colorado FOP Labor Council is ready to provide you with the resources you need.
The FOP is the largest professional police labor organization in the country and here in Colorado. We all know that no one can represent an officer as well as a fellow officer. That fellow officer is the FOP and we have the experience. FOP members have worked through thousands of labor situations. The Colorado FOP Labor Council, through its own data and National Labor Services, has access to the collective knowledge of more than 325,000 law enforcement professionals. That is why each Lodge in this state should follow the lead of many other lodges and join the Colorado FOP Labor Council.