As I have jumped into my spot here at Scott County Republicans, the buzz has been about the collective bargaining bill. Of course, once again the Republicans are painted as people who want their fellow humans to starve. What is our problem? Why is this bill such a big deal?
First things first, this collective bargaining agreement has not been changed since 1974. Can’t we all admit that things have changed since then? I think it is probably time to look at it with fresh eyes.
What has changed with this new bill?
- The past negotiations were for everything from wages to healthcare to seniority perks. When was the last time you joined a company and negotiated your healthcare? You are given the option to purchase healthcare through the company or go get your own. Why should they get to negotiate better healthcare at taxpayers’ expense? If you want more than what is offered, you can go buy your own. The new bill is going to limit negotiations to wages. I believe that is fair. This will allow the school board in each district to prioritize student’s needs over that of vacation time or evaluation procedures. (Update: In the final bill the unions are able to negotiate for seniority perks as well grievance procedures, but the bills still much more fiscally responsible than it was.)
- Before, if the contract negotiation went to arbitration, it went to an unelected arbitrator to choose one of the two numbers. That person couldn’t choose something in between that was a compromise for each party; he had to choose one number or the other regardless of the outcome to taxpayers. The new bill requires the arbitrator to consider the ability of the employer to finance the wage hike. Imagine that!
- There is also a provision in this new bill which separates public safety employees from non-public safety employees. The men and women who put their lives on the line to keep us safe every day will still be able to bargain collectively, if we can make their lives a little easier and less stressful, we should.
- Under this new bill, public workers will also have to vote every two years for the union that represents them. I have to vote every few years for the people who represent me in government. The people in these unions should have an active voice in who represents them in these negotiations.
These seem to be the areas that everyone is most concerned about, so why is this bill so important?
This is about being a good steward of the resources that God has given us. We have a right to expect great work for great pay, and we need to reward the people who are outstanding and fire the ones who are not. This will create a competitive workplace and give us the best workers in the country. We do not mind paying for quality, but we have the right to demand quality. We don’t want to take away anyone’s healthcare or great work environment, we just believe it should be comparable to ours.
Secretary, Scott County Republican