Unions support transparency — except when it applies to them


By Maxford Nelsen | Freedom Foundation

“I understand the need for transparency and open government, but…”

Four of Washington’s labor leaders testified before the Senate Government Operations Committee last week against SB6183, which would bring greater transparency to collective bargaining negotiations between public agencies and labor unions.

Introduced by Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, the bill would eliminate an exemption for contract negotiations from the state Open Public Meetings Act.

Instead of mandating that all contract negotiations be open to the public, as at least five other states do, the bill allows collective bargaining sessions to take place privately on a case-by-case basis if both parties agree. Oregon’s public agencies have been governed by a similar law for about 15 years.

Keeping these meetings closed can lead to significant abuses, such as occurred in Seattle last summer when it was leaked out of private negotiations that the city was paying the police union president a six-figure salary to work full-time on union business.

at Freedom Foundation.

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