And you thought you’d elected Republicans to the state Legislature.
The headline in today’s print edition of the Las Vegas newspaper called the bill drafts targeting collective bargaining reform “modest,” which is an overstatement. They are milquetoast.
(Since there are at least four bill drafts on this topic, the headline online simply made not sense at all: “Will Sandoval use the bill to achieve collective bargaining reform?”)
According to the story, one bill would make collective bargaining talks subject to the state open meeting law, while another would require any contracts negotiated in secret, as they all are, to be made available to the public before being voted on by elected officials. Another would better define what constitutes a fiscal emergency allowing contracts to be reopened.
The strongest one comes from Reno Republican Assemblyman Randy Kirner. It would exclude supervisors from public union organizing and prohibit the use of tax money to pay the salaries of employees doing union work. It also would require final contract offers to be revealed to the public.
But Kirner was quoted as being less than ardent about challenging the cost of collective bargaining: “Speaking for myself, we don’t want to destroy the collective bargaining process. But we think there should be some changes, some reforms made. That’s the track I am personally going down.”
Apparently there is not bill draft to end collective bargaining or even to end binding arbitration that so often ends up favoring the unions.
We repeat the words of progressive icon and friend of labor Franklin D. Roosevelt from a 1937 letter:
“All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people …”
Las Vegas Democrat state Sen. Tick Segerblom promised to fight any reforms of public employee unions “tooth and nail.”
The governor has said he wants collective bargaining reform, but he hasn’t said what that entails.