Disputes that caused labor contract negotiations between the city and Austin firefighters to collapse Thursday were shaped in part by a federal investigation into whether the Austin Fire Department discriminates against minorities.
City officials said they wanted the authority to change how they hire firefighters before negotiating their next contract with the union so that they would have the flexibility to comply with any directives from the U.S. Department of Justice, which is looking into allegations that the department discriminates against Hispanics and African-Americans.
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