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Mayor and Commission to Review Negotiation Procedures for Firefighter Bargaining

Kevin Price Construction

Seven months after granting local firefighters the right to engage in collective bargaining, the Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission will discuss procedures for how these conversations will take place.

Mayor Girtz originally vetoed a plan in 2022 to allow firefighters to unionize, but a revised version was passed by the mayor and commission in June of last year. Supporters of the move said that the right to unionize would allow firefighters to negotiate better wages and working conditions, and would boost morale.

Speaking at a commission meeting last year, Nate Bailey, president of the Professional Firefighters of Georgia, noted that the right to collective bargaining would be an important recruitment tool.

Local firefighters voted late last year to appoint the International Association of Firefighters as their representative. This week, the mayor and commission will hear from an outside law firm about how negotiations will take place. After receiving a notice from the bargaining agent, the local government will have 30 days to meet and reach an agreement, after which unresolved issues will be sent to mediation. Under any agreement reached, Athens-Clarke County firefighters will not be allowed to strike.

To learn more about the mayor and commission work session, visit accgov.com.

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