Statement from Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry on Collective Bargaining

City of Fort Wayne seal

News release from the City of Fort Wayne:

Statement from Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry on Collective Bargaining

(May 9, 2014) – I continue to be encouraged by the positive momentum we’re experiencing in the City of Fort Wayne. I want to take this opportunity to recognize our city employees for their tremendous efforts in making our city a great place that’s positioned for positive investments now and in the future.

Unquestionably, city employees are extremely skilled, very committed, very diligent, and are some of the best in the Midwest. They have won one award after another and help make Fort Wayne the envy of the State of Indiana.

My staff and I work every day to improve the delivery and efficiency of city services with great results. Sometimes that’s meant the painful trimming of compensation and benefits to city workers, but we’ve found it’s been most effective to work in partnership with them to find new ideas and solutions to save taxpayer dollars and improve city services. Every winning organization in the world knows you need your employees to be motivated and treated with respect to achieve superior results.

Next week, City Council will consider ordinances that would possibly eliminate the ability for employees to participate in collective bargaining. I’m opposed to efforts that would take collective bargaining rights away from city employees.

Our top goal in Fort Wayne and all across northeast Indiana is to increase the number of high-wage, high-skill jobs in our region. We should be putting all our energies into achieving that goal and into the strategies that are yielding positive returns, not into a divisive, questionable idea that undermines our most important objective. Our focus in city government should not be on labor fights but on providing excellent services to support business and industry. Highly motivated employees are critical to doing so.

Simply put, I don’t think we deliver better, more affordable city services by attacking the people who deliver those services. I don’t think you win the future with last-century ideas that penalize the very people you’re depending on for new ideas and smarter solutions. I don’t think we build a better Fort Wayne by beating up on the employees who plowed snow for weeks on end without a day off, who run fearlessly into burning buildings, who turn on a dime to keep us safe. Take away a worker’s voice and you take away his or her dignity. That’s a poor message when our goal is to have the best and brightest on our team. Besides, it’s just plain wrong.

Through the efforts of all city staff, we’re leaders in engagement, innovation, and performance. Any attempts that could have a negative impact on our employees’ ability to perform their duties will not be supported by me and my administration.

Let’s win the future by working together.

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