Firefighters seek bargaining vote

Saturday, May 4, 2002

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A firefighters' union seeking the right of collective bargaining has gathered more than enough signatures to put the issue before voters in November, a union official said.

The Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters has been gathering signatures supporting its proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution for about 16 months -- getting the earliest jump of any group attempting to put a question on the ballot.

The union plans to deliver petitions with 200,000 signatures to the secretary of state's office today, said John Corbett, president of the state chapter of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

For a constitutional amendment to make the ballot this year, supporters need signatures equal to 8 percent of the votes cast in the 2000 gubernatorial election in six of the nine congressional districts.

Based on the signatures gathered, "we've got about a 40 percent cushion in every district, so we're really covered," Corbett said.

Supporters of a proposal to raise Missouri's tobacco taxes to benefit health care programs also plan to turn in petition signatures today to the secretary of state's office.

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