Mediator Will Offer Assistance Resolving Houston Firefighter Dispute
Wednesday, August, 14, 2019
Houston Firefighters and city officials will return to mediation after the 14th Court of Appeals ruled they attempt again to settle the ongoing pay dispute. The dispute has stretched throughout the majority of the first term of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
This upcoming mediation will be the third attempt at trying to reach a contract for the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association. In May, the group appealed a ruling from a Texas district judge that struck down Proposition B. Proposition B was a voter-approved initiative to grant firefighters the same salary as police officers of a similar rank.
Early in August, the two sides agreed to bring on Houston attorney Daryl Bristow to act as mediator.
The decision to overrule Prop B came after a court-appointed mediator declared an impasse in negotiations. Both sides have been trying to settle the dispute since June 2017, but to no avail. The union eventually sued the city in a separate case related to Prop B, making matters even more hostile. The city then filed a countersuit against the union.
Turner was asked after the most recent decision to mediate whether or not he thought the process would produce a different result this time. He claimed to be “positive and optimistic” and said he would go into the mediation “with the intent to resolve.”
Turner had previously rejected the union’s request to settle the dispute through arbitration instead of mediation. According to fire union President Marty Lancton, arbitration would have been a “sensible solution.”