As the Freedom Foundation has written about for years, government employee collective bargaining meetings have no place being conducted behind closed doors. There is a myriad of problems with keeping these meetings secret and no reason not to have them done openly.
September 7th, 2016Lincoln County shattered a history of secrecy becoming the first local government to pass a resolution to open their collective bargaining contacts to the public.
Several more local governments have followed and the sky is not falling.
January 25th, 2017– Pullman schoolboard voted to open their meetings to the public.
They were also the first local government to have successfully negotiated a contract in public, now several contracts.
Evan Ellis, from Pullman Radio attended several meetings and reported that a dozen or so union members, teachers and some concerned parents attended as well. Everyone seemed happy to have a more transparent process.
March 6th, 2017– Ferry County passed a resolution similar to Lincoln County. Despite receiving a letter from the union stating they would refuse to negotiate in public, half a dozen meetings to negotiate a new contract with the union have taken place without incident.
July 11th, 2017– Tukwila School Board also passed aresolution to open their collective bargaining meetings to the public
November 7th, 2017– Kittitas County became the first local government to pass an ordinance opening its union employee contracts to the public. They also recently became the second local government to successfully conclude negotiating a contract in publicly accessible meetings.
Freedom Foundation’s legal team is representing Lincoln County against Teamsters Local 690 in dueling unfair labor practice complaints. These actions are pending before the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC).
While the legal battle will take some time, the court of public opinion has spoken with nearly 70% of Washingtonians polled favor increased transparency. Clearly union arguments against more transparency have fallen flat.
Now that the curtain has been lifted, the unions flawed arguments against transparency are crumbling. There have not been problems with “disruption,” “intimidation,” or any of their arguments.
We encourage you to ask your elected officials to consider a proposal to bring more transparency to the collective bargaining process – in which your tax dollars are at stake, especially when the side asking for your money may be donating to the person on the other side of the negotiating table.