Mayor Henry Issues Veto of So-Called Right to Work Ordinance

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): Mayor Tom Henry has issued a veto of a City Council ordinance passed July 8th. In a press conference Friday, the mayor said he had to veto the so-called Right to Work Ordinance, a piece of legislation that made union membership optional. Mayor Henry released the following statement:

“Once again, City Council has presented an ordinance that I had to veto because of the disrespect it shows the great employees of our City – this time, the public safety officers.

The last time I vetoed an ordinance, the voices of our non-public safety employees obviously fell on deaf ears. On July 8, when Council approved G-14-05-17 (as amended) impacting the employment of public safety officers, they clearly neglected to talk to those affected.

It's unfortunate that Council amended an ordinance that had been tabled for weeks rather than going through the process of introduction, discussion, and passage. This approach did not allow taxpayers and public safety personnel, particularly the Fort Wayne Police Department, the opportunity to gain a full understanding of the impact of Council's decision.

I openly worked with the firefighters' union prior to the recent passage of their contract to eliminate the membership requirement because that's what they requested. Had the police unions asked for this, I would have respected their wishes and could have signed a letter of agreement with them as well.

To my knowledge, no Council member ever talked with the police unions about a plan to amend this ordinance. No warning was given. I truly believe that is bad governing. This ordinance alienates those who put their lives on the line to keep all of us safe.

Hiding from dialogue, especially when making substantial changes, is a precedent that must not be set. It is also unprofessional. Every worker, union or non-union, deserves to be treated with respect. Council has chosen to take away the voice of many of our employees. No tonly do our employees deserve to be heard, but so do residents and taxpayers.”