Denver (AP) - The Colorado Senate has backed a bill giving firefighters the right to unionize without having to get local approval.
Senate Bill 180 passed by a vote of 18-17 on Thursday. It now heads to the House for consideration.
Right now, cities with home-rule charters must vote on whether to allow police and firefighters to organize and allow collective bargaining for employment contracts. There are 98 cities with such charters but only 10 have changed them to allow police and firefighters to unionize.
The bill is opposed by the Colorado Municipal League, which argues it violates the right of cities to local control. Fire departments with fewer than 50 members wouldn't be covered by the bill under an amendment that passed Thursday.
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