Letter: Arbitration creates no burden

The truth is that New York's full-time professional The truth is that New York's full-time professional fire fighters have earned the respect of their neighbors and the right to a fair negotiating process. Photo Credit: Tribune Media Services / Donna Grethen

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Your recent op-ed by E.J. McMahon on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's proposal to reduce the options presented to firefighters, police officers and municipalities when contract negotiations reach an impasse is short on the truth and long on embellishment ["Stronger push needed on arbitration," Opinion, Feb. 25].

At issue is a law, due to expire later this year, that has established binding arbitration to ensure that the public is protected from threats posed by fire or other emergencies, even when labor and management are unable to resolve ongoing contract disputes.

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While many communities are feeling the burdens of a loss of population and a struggling economy, it is a false assertion that taxpayers pay a heavy price because of binding arbitration. An independent study by Cornell University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concluded that strikes have been avoided, and the use of binding arbitration has not resulted in an escalation of wages.

I cannot allow the daily sacrifices and risks made by first responders to be misrepresented and diminished. The truth is that New York's full-time professional fire fighters have earned the respect of their neighbors and the right to a fair negotiating process.

Michael McManus, Albany

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the New York State Professional Fire Fighters Association.

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