Know your vote: Colorado Springs Firefighting union proposition

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) Colorado Springs voters have just one measure to take a look at in April, aside from the candidate's up for debate.

You might have seen the commercials about Springs Firefighters asking for the ability to create a union. Supporters have said this is all about safety, where as opponents say this is unnecessary, and will cost the city money.

Supporters said the focus should be on the fact they need to always have a spot at the negotiation table, but that may not be the case without a union.

They tell 11 News it's about solidifying that seat, no matter who is in office.

This would create the potential for the first local union for first responders.

On the other hand, opponents said our firefighters shouldn't need a union because they are already so well protected, compensated, and equipped with some of the best gear around.

Supporters argue only they can really know what they need, and other people shouldn't be making those decisions for them, without them.

John Roy is the spokesperson with Firefighters for Safer Colorado Campaign, the organization that put forward the proposition.

He said unions will make sure firefighters are always able to speak up about situations directly effecting them.

"So this could be equipment, this could be discussions about cancer, this could be about improving things in the station so they can be more efficient and safe," Roy said.

Mayor John Suthers is one of the leading opponents to this measure.

He has said the unionization of the fire department wont make things any safer, but will cost tax payers.

Here's the full verbiage of the measure.

"Shall the Charter of the City of Colorado Springs be amended by the addition of a new Article XVI thereto granting collective bargaining rights to all uniformed City fire employees except for the Fire Chief and his direct reports, and specifically: providing that such employees shall have the right to select and remove an employee organization to serve as the sole and exclusive bargaining representative, to bargain on behalf of such employees for a collective bargaining agreement with the City as employer, concerning items related to safety, wages, salaries, monetary payments, employer-paid health insurance, employer-paid accident, life and disability insurance, employer-paid pension programs including the amount of pension and contributions, employer-offered deferred compensation, health insurance for retired fire employees, paid time off, uniform and equipment allowances, employer-paid expense reimbursement, hours of work, and all other terms and conditions of employment of such employees; providing for the term of collective bargaining agreements of not less than one (1) year nor longer than three (3) years; providing for impasse between the City and the exclusive bargaining agent regarding any issues to be presented to a fact-finder, with the fact-finder to be selected by agreement between the exclusive bargaining representative and the City; providing the factors that the fact-finder shall consider in his or her decision; providing that if either the City or the collective bargaining representative does not accept the decision of the fact-finder on any issue, it shall be presented to the voters only at a special municipal election, with each issue to be a separate question; and providing that any adopted appropriations ordinance shall be amended as necessary to comply with the recommendations from the fact-finder or the special election results