April Legislative Report

by Council 2 Deputy Director Pat Thompson on April 10, 2018
The Governor has taken action on most bills that were passed by the Legislature. Among the bills signed into law were:
Engrossed Senate Bill 6229. New Employee Orientation: This measure requires all public employers to provide a minimum of 30 minutes for Union Representatives to greet newly hired employees and explain the benefits and structure of the Union. Although several employers already allow for similar arrangements, this law will be very helpful in welcoming new hires and gives all local unions an opportunity to meet new hires and answer any questions that they may have. With the so-called “Right to Work” (for less!) Janus Case before Supreme Court, it is critically important that we have time to explain the importance of Union Membership and its benefits.
Right to Work Means Less
On February 26th the initial arguments on the Janus versus Council 31 case were heard before the Supreme Court. This case could result in a “Right to Work” situation nation-wide in the Public Sector. “Right to Work” means less in every instance. It hits our bargaining power resulting in less leverage to make any gains in wages, benefits or conditions of employment. Your Local Union is your employee advocate that fights to better your career. If voluntary membership occurs as a result of a “Right to Work” decision and members drop out, it will affect the Local Union’s ability to make any further gains or maintain the current level of pay or benefits. Right to Work states currently are paid 10 to 15% less. Talk to your fellow members about the risk. 
Local Government Funding Fairs Well
With the improving economy and a change in the Senate leadership, our efforts to improve funding to counties and cities paid off. A Capital Budget was finally passed which included $116 million for the Public Works Trust Fund, $95 million for stormwater projects and $160 million for critical drinking water projects.
Freedom Foundation At it Again
(This time with a State Initiative)
After failing miserably in four different cities, The Freedom Foundation and the equally misnamed Center for Worker Rights have filed a statewide initiative to open up all collective bargaining sessions to the public and require that all proposals be publically posted within two days of being offered.
This measure, of course, is simply a public relations stunt meant to frustrate the bargaining process. All contracts are currently audible to the public and open to discussion and debate prior to being implemented.
They have until July 6 to gather 259,622 valid signatures to put the measure on the November 6 ballot. 
Public Employer Disclosure Bill Fails
SB 6079: Which would have prohibited the Freedom Foundation from gaining personal information on public employees failed to pass. With the advanced technology, gaining access to your name and birthdate allows the Freedom Foundation to gain access to home addresses and phone numbers. Why do they want this information? So they can track down members and attempt to undermine support of their Union.