Approving of government transparency is a little like approving of breathing. There seems little reason to quantify our true feelings about either since the alternative in both cases is the death of body or the death of our representative republic.
We want our government to be both transparent and accountable – for the most part, it’s an expectation that transcends political party or ideology. Unless you have something to hide, that is, in which case the last thing you want is to have the light shone on your activities.
At the Freedom Foundation, shining the light of truth on the conditions that breed corruption is what we’re all about, which is why we’ve worked tirelessly to encourage local government jurisdictions to open their collective bargaining negotiations to public scrutiny.
And predictably, we encounter intense opposition from those with the most to hide – the unions representing public-sector workers and the politicians working both sides of the street by taking money from the unions while claiming to represent the people.
To prove the obvious, the Freedom Foundation commissioned an independent public opinion poll in October 2017 asking Washingtonians what they thought about “members of the public being permitted to observe negotiations between government agencies and labor unions.”
Not surprisingly, nearly 70 percent favor increased transparency.
All counties could adopt a policy which allows observers at bargaining sessions with government unions but only two have – Lincoln County and Kittitas.
Others are interested, and we talked to many about it at the Counties Convention in November, but they need to hear from the many who support transparency if they are going to make the change.
Ask your local elected officials to open their collective bargaining process to public observation.
Fill out this form to send a message to your county leadership team to encourage transparency in collective bargaining with government unions.
Total survey results
Regional support showing favor towards transparency:
Transparency crosses party lines, as shown below:
* Source: Results of an Elway Research Inc. poll of 500 Washingtonians October 26-29, 2017. Margin of error is ±4.5% at the 95% level of confidence. The question was: “State and Local government agencies often negotiate contracts with labor unions setting the wages and benefits of public employees. Currently, these negotiations are closed to the public. In your opinion, should members of the public be permitted to observe negotiations between government agencies and labor unions?” Survey conducted by Elway Research Inc.; the question was written and paid for by the Freedom Foundation.