Colorado Springs voters overwhelmingly denied collective bargaining privileges for firefighters in Tuesday's election, maintaining the city's long-standing anti-union sentiment, preliminary results show.
Issue 1, the ballot's single question, lost by 26,634 to 57,904 votes, City Clerk Sarah Johnson said. The Professional Firefighters Association, IAFF Local 5, petitioned the question onto the ballot late last year after collecting nearly 30,000 signatures.
The move was prompted by the Fire Department's overworked and understaffed crews, Local 5 President Dave Noblitt has said. Nonbinding arbitration would have allowed the union to negotiate for higher pay and lower mandatory overtime, among other things.
“The voters spoke, and we’ll live with the results,” said Fire Chief Ted Collas, who tread carefully so as not to pick sides. He noted, however, that he had expected the vote to be closer.