Local Representative Dave Maxwell is in favor of changes to the collective bargaining laws for public sector employees…and says there are many misunderstandings about the changes.
He says this specific section of code hasn’t had a thoughtful review in over four decades, and during that time, the balance has gradually tipped away from the taxpayers who ultimately pay the bill. The goal of the new legislation is to hold public sector unions more accountable to those they represent and to modernize and rebalance some aspects of the law to reflect today’s economic realities.
Maxwell says because of the important work public employees do, the proposed changes have been carefully weighed and subjected to the full legislative process. He says there has been a lot of false speculation and misinformation circulated about what the bill does and doesn’t do.
Maxwell emphasizes the plan does not repeal the right to collectively bargain…and public sector unions will still have the right to represent bargaining units, and negotiate collective bargaining agreements with public employers. He says the proposed changes will not subject employees to workplace discrimination, unsafe environments, or violations of their rights including due process for termination. It is already illegal for employers to discriminate against employees based on protected characteristics such as race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, creed, sexual orientation, sexual identity or disability. Health insurance will not be eliminated and the retirement systems will not be altered or diminished under this bill. Employers must offer health insurance and retirement systems, and these will not be changed.
Maxwell says exceptional employees will be able to be rewarded while it will be easier to get rid of those who consistently underperform. The proposed bill will give local governments the ability to recruit and retain employees for hard-to-fill positions, and unencumber the process for terminating ineffective employees. Meanwhile, all the same protections for due process and wrongful termination will still exist, as employer’s right to suspend or discharge public employees will need to have a proper cause.
The bill does not affect private sector unions whatsoever.