Collective Bargaining Inquiry at Lexington City Hall

Jul 11, 2012

A question about collective bargaining led to a sometimes emotional discussion at Lexington city hall Tuesday.  Urban County Council member Doug Martin asked if recent action by the council could pave the way for workers in the Division of Waste Management to collectively bargain.  “If in the process of gaining more understanding about this ordinance and what this involves, the council wishes to take some action, then that’s gonna be up to the council at that time,” said Martin. Law Commissioner Janet Graham told members the ordinance does not call for collective bargaining for waste management workers.  She says it does allow for what’s termed ‘meeting and conferring’ with the administration.

  Council member Chris Ford voted against a motion to place the item in committee.

“All they want to do is have the opportunity to formally sit down and speak with the powers that be,” said Ford.

Council member Jay McChord says the opportunity for such talks was put in place years ago.

“Police and fire wanted to come, confer, use this law that’s on the books.  Government simply didn’t do it.  Previous mayors or previous council folks did not follow that or allow that to happen,” added McChord.

A council vote to send the matter to committee resulted in a seven-seven tie.  Lexington Mayor Jim Gray broke the tie vote and the issue was sent to the general government committee.