Texas Supreme Court asks for full briefs in City’s lawsuit against the fire union
SAN ANTONIO (Dec. 9, 2017) — Yesterday the Supreme Court of Texas asked for full briefs in the City's lawsuit seeking to strike the Evergreen provision from the Collective Bargaining Agreement with Firefighters' Union. The Evergreen provision binds the City to increasing and unsustainable health costs for uniformed employees through 2024. The City believes this obligation violates the Texas constitution's prohibition against cities taking on unfunded debt.
The request for briefs does not mean that the Supreme Court has decided to hear the case, however, the City has cleared the difficult first hurdle in the review process. Briefs will be submitted by the City and the Union in January 2018. The Court will then decide whether to hear the case.
Under the CBA, fire uniform employees pay no healthcare premiums for themselves or their dependents-an unsustainable plan given increasing health care costs. The City spends approximately $34.5 million a year on the Firefighter health costs and the overall value of the Firefighter CBA is approximately $254 million.
The City asked the Supreme Court to hear the case after the Bexar County District Court ruled in favor of the Union and the Texas Fourth Court of Appeals affirmed the decision.
While yesterday's request for full briefing is a positive development for the City from a litigation standpoint, the City continues to invite the Fire Union to start negotiating a CBA that is fair to both firefighters and the City.