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Two anti-union bills up for debate

Two of four proposals targeting public employee unions will be debated in the Senate tomorrow.

If they receive approval, they will be cleared for a formal vote to send them to the House of Representatives, which must also approve them.

But two other measures that would fundamentally weaken public unions in the state have not yet been scheduled for debate.

One of them would eliminate public unions’ ability to collectively bargain with their employers. The other bill would prohibit outright automatic salary deductions for union dues.

They can be brought to the floor for debate at any time, although bringing them to the floor late in the process complicates their chances of ultimately landing on the governor’s desk.

The proposals that the Senate will debate tomorrow would ban compensation for government employees while they’re doing union work and would discontinue automatic salary deductions for union dues—unless the employee expressly authorizes it each year.

Public unions have recently increased their lobbying efforts to kill all of the proposals, but they’re particularly alarmed by efforts to eliminate their ability to negotiate with state agencies and local governments.

Some have warned that the proposals are stoking a political firestorm.

But backers said curbing union power would save the state hundreds of millions of dollars, arguing that unions have accumulated tremendous clout over public officials that then enact policies that favor them.

They also described a conflict of interest when public-sector unions negotiate over wages and benefits with the same politicians they helped to get elected.

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