Sunday, June 26, 2011

Time for Collective Bargaining Reform

Many politicos in Connecticut are convinced Governor Malloy owes his Election Day victory to the unions. The mobilization of ground troops in the closing weeks of the campaign was monumental, even breathtaking. Residents in the big cities answered their doorbell on Election Day to respond to a union member's offer for a ride to the polls. Credit where credit is due – the unions outmaneuvered Tom Foley.

Governor Malloy clearly paid back the unions with his budget proposal. Leave a hole in the budget to fill with union givebacks and $180 million in cost savings from an “employee suggestion box.” Rattle the saber to appease the taxpayers by threatening layoffs if the unions don’t pass concessions then negotiate a sweet deal guaranteeing no layoffs. Private sector unions have never had management on their side like Malloy was for the state employee unions in 2011.

Suddenly Malloy was the poster boy for Democrats – negotiating union deals, raising taxes and RAISING spending. People started whispering Dan wants to be president!

Fast-forward to last week. The Malloy dirigible crashed to the ground. The helium leaked out and the hot air could not keep the ship of state afloat.

Now the state budget is a shambles. The Governor says 5,500 state employees will get pink slips. Connecticut economists suggest the multiplier effect of Malloy’s layoffs could mean a double-dip recession and as many as 16,000 newly unemployed.

The time is now to pull in the reins on the state employee unions in Connecticut. They elected our governor, were handed an early Christmas present and demanded more. Now, 15% of their membership will be kicked out of their jobs because last-in-first-out rules protect the majority.

SEBAC is a disaster for Connecticut. The organization is not effectively protecting their membership. Their rules are unworkable as we see by the failure of the concession agreement when nearly 60% of union membership voted to approve them.

Chris Powell of the Journal-Inquirer stated in his editorial, “With its extravagant laws for collective bargaining for public employees, Connecticut has put itself under minority rule in the extreme. First the sovereign people have to get the permission of their employees just to operate a government. And then that government's operations are largely determined by a minority of those employees.”

The time is now to reform collective bargaining for public employees in Connecticut. The taxpayers of Connecticut cannot sustain the current system.