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House Panel OKs Changes to City Labor Disputes (Apr 13, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A House panel has narrowly approved a bill to change the way labor disputes are handled between cities and uniformed personnel, like police and firefighters.

The House General Government Committee voted 9-8 in favor of the measure, with ex-officio members House Speaker Kris Steele and Speaker Pro Tem Jeff Hickman providing the necessary votes to pass the bill from committee. It now heads to the full House.

The bill faces bitter opposition from police and firefighter unions, who contend the measure slants arbitration on labor contracts in favor of the cities. A key point of dispute is a provision in the bill that prohibits an arbitrator from considering certain city funds when a labor contract is being considered.

Proponents of the bill say the changes benefit taxpayers.

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