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Court Orders City Of Houston And Firefighters Union To Resume Mediation On Prop B

Mayor Sylvester Turner says the city will return to the negotiating table, but the “most realistic” option is to proceed with state authorized collective bargaining.

Fire trucks
Andrew Schneider/Houston Public Media
This August 8, 2018, file photo shows two HFD trucks parked at Houston City Hall.

The Texas 14th Court of Appeals has ordered the City of Houston and the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association to resume mediation over Proposition B.

Prop B is the measure voters approved last November by which the city would have to pay firefighters the same it pays to police officers of the same or equivalent rank, meaning there is pay parity between the local fire and police departments.

In May, a judge declared the measure unconstitutional based on the Texas Constitution. The firefighters union appealed that decision and that’s why the appeals court has ordered that the city and the HPFFA go back to the negotiating table within 60 days. The two parties already unsuccessfully negotiated before Prop B was declared unconstitutional.

On Wednesday, the Houston City Council voted to reverse 220 layoffs and even more demotions of firefighters that had gone into effect in order for the city to pay for the raises.

This order is similar to the last time the city and the HPFFA had to resort to mediation. They aren't actually legally bound to find a solution, just to negotiate.

A spokesperson for the firefighter's union says they're ready to enter mediation as soon as possible.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a statement that the city will comply with the court’s order to resume the mediation but added that “the most realistic course to move forward is to proceed with state authorized collective bargaining.”

You can read the court order here:

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