Did A Dispute Over Firefighter Pay Lead To Democrats Skipping Houston For Their 2020 Convention?

In November, Houstonians voted to make firefighters’ pay equal to that of police, but Mayor Sylvester Turner says the city doesn’t have the money for raises.

By Jill AmentMarch 12, 2019 11:47 am

Houston lost its bid for the Democratic National Convention in 2020, and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez says he chose Milwaukee instead partly because the city better fit his party’s values. It’s a vague statement, but it likely has to do with a local dispute in Houston about how the city pays its firefighters.

Jasper Scherer is a city hall reporter for the Houston Chronicle, and says there’s been an ongoing feud between the local firefighters’ union and the city. The firefighters gathered enough signatures to put a measure on the ballot during the November elections to give firefighters equal pay to that of city police. The measure passed, but he says Mayor Sylvester Turner told the union the city can’t afford to pay those raises.

“The cost of the raises is somewhere around $80 million,” Scherer says. “The firefighters have essentially made a combination of arguments that the city can afford to find the money.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– Why the firefighters argue Houston should be able to afford pay raises

– What Mayor Turner argues would be the consequences of granting firefighter pay raises

– How Houstonians are responding to the dispute, and the potential effect on Turner’s re-election

Written by Caroline Covington.