By Maxford Nelsen | Freedom Foundation
On Wednesday, Freedom Foundation supporters and staff protested the closed-door collective bargaining sessions underway between Gov. Inslee’s negotiators and state employees’ unions at the Washington State Labor Council headquarters in Olympia.
As we have pointed out repeatedly, the contract negotiations have significant bearing on the size and expense of state government, the services taxpayers receive and whether public employees will be fired for not paying union dues. Literally billions of dollars are allocated through the collective bargaining process at the state and local levels.
But, unlike other states, Washington law allows these meetings to be conducted in secret. Legislators, taxpayers, reporters and union members are all barred from watching the proceedings. At the state level, the public is left in the dark about what is being negotiated until the contract has been approved and submitted to the legislature for an up-or-down vote. The governor is supposed to consult with a legislative committee during the course of the negotiations, but the committee has never been called to meet.
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