Appeals Court Upholds “Evergreen Clause”

By Bill O’Neil

A setback for the City in its efforts to reach a deal on anew contract with the firefighters union.

The Fourth Court of Appeals has ruled the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the union does not violate the Texas Constitution.

The “Evergreen Clause” that is part of that agreement leaves the terms of the now-expired contract in place for up to ten years–if a new agreement can not be reached.

The City’s contract with the fire union expired at the end of September 2014.

“I will recommend to the Mayor and City Council that the City appeal the decision to the Texas Supreme Court” City Manager Sheryl Sculley said. Mayor Ron Nirenberg quickly signaled his support.

“I remain confident the City’s position will be upheld by the Texas Supreme Court” the Mayor said, adding This case is not a trivial matter, as it affects how the City spends almost $800-million each year in public safety.”

Sculley also said the fire union continues to refuse to negotiate a new agreement.

“On Wednesday, August 16–for the ninth time in four years–we again invited the fire union to the bargaining table” Sculley said, adding “We remain ready to negotiate with he fire union to reach a balanced contract that is affordable to taxpayers and fair to employees Progress can only be made when both parties are at the table.”

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