The Wolf Administration finalized contracts with two government unions yesterday, perfectly encapsulating the failings of the current collective bargaining process.
In a terse press release, the Wolf Administration announced contract agreements with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 13 and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1776.
According to the Wolf Administration, the contracts generally maintain the status quo, which isn’t a promising revelation for public employees or taxpayers who have no interest in subsidizing union politics.
Additionally, a 2.25 percent pay increase was agreed to for employees with at least one year of continuous service. Charles Thompson of PennLive reports the pay increase will cost Pennsylvanians $23 million in the coming fiscal year.
Even if the public does not approve of these new contracts, there isn’t much they can do to prevent implementation. The agreements were hammered out behind closed doors, and the details were only released after both Gov. Wolf and two of his campaign contributors agreed to the deals.
Is there a better example of a process in need of transparency?
Had the Senate’s trio of transparency bills been codified, the process would have been different. Taxpayers could have watched the contract negotiations play out, and they would have been provided the contracts and their costs before ratification, giving them an opportunity to weigh in on the deals.
Fortunately, lawmakers still have time to make the collective bargaining process transparent. The wishes of government unions to keep the process secret should not prevent lawmakers from giving Pennsylvanians a seat at the table.
Bob Dick ([email protected]) is a Policy Analyst for the Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives. Used with permission of the Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives. An earlier version of this article appeared at http://www.commonwealthfoundation.org/policyblog/detail/union-contract-agreements-bolster-case-for-collective-bargaining-transparency/