Thursday, April 15, 2010

URGENT: When States Can Least Afford It, Congress Working to Force Unions on States, Cities and Towns

This is happening this week:

On Tuesday, in another payback to union bosses, Harry Reid re-introduced The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act to mandate collective bargaining for public safety workers in all 50 states.

The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act is a bill that has lingered in Congress for several years and had previously enjoyed bi-partisan support in the House. The bill is written to require states, counties and municipalities to recognize and bargain with unions on behalf of all police, firefighters, as well as EMS workers, irrespective of their current state laws.

As states, cities, and many municipalities go broke, many due to the wage, benefit and pension packages negotiated by public-sector unions, the PSEECA is an intrusion on states's rights,  as well as another unfunded mandate from the federal government which could push several states over the fiscal edge.

As the Heritage Foundation noted last year:
  • The act would impose a substantial unfunded mandate on state and local governments.
  • Without providing financing for the mandate, the act will force these governments to either cut services or raise taxes.

More here.

Earlier today, the Florida League of Cities sent out the following alert to members, which states:
Action Requested: Please CALL Senators Bill Nelson and George LeMieux and your Member(s) of Congress and urge them to oppose passage of S.3194 or H.R.413.

Yesterday, the Senate moved one step closer to scheduling a vote on a mandatory collective bargaining bill, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) re-introduced the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2009, S. 3194.  He did so under a Senate rule that allows the bill to come to the floor in as little as 48 hours after introduction and without committee review.  S.3194 is identical to S.1611, which Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) introduced last year, and is nearly identical to H.R. 413, the House version of the bill.

The House also seems to be preparing for a vote on mandatory collective bargaining legislation sometime this month with Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the chair of the House Education and

Labor Committee and one of the bill’s leading advocates, saying he expected H.R.413 to pass Congress in April.

If and when both chambers adopt identical bill language, it will be sent to the President who is expected to sign it.

The National League of Cities urges the Congress to reject this legislation because it undermines municipal autonomy with respect to making fundamental employment decisions, interferes with state and local laws, and may be unconstitutional.


The National League of Cities and its national partners continue to oppose this legislation because it would grant the federal government authority over fundamental employment decisions historically reserved to states and local governments.

S.3194 -- without consideration for state or local laws -- would:
  • Grant every police officer, firefighter and emergency medical technician at the state or local level the right to form and join a labor union;
  • Direct local governments to recognize the employees' labor union;
  • Require cities and towns to collectively bargain over hours, wages, and the terms and conditions of employment other than pensions;
  • Require states and municipal governments to establish an impasse resolution process;
  • Require that state courts enforce the rights established by this mandatory collective bargaining bill; and
  • Direct every state – even if it currently recognizes employee collective bargaining rights – to conform to federal regulations around mandatory collective bargaining within two years of the bill’s effective date and without regard to state or local laws.

House Co-sponsors of H.R. 413 from Florida:
Cong. Vern Buchanan
Cong. Corrine Brown
Cong. Lincoln Diaz-Balart
Cong. Mario Diaz-Balart
Cong. Alan Grayson
Cong. Alcee Hastings
Cong. Kendrick Meek
Cong. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Cong. Tom Rooney
Cong. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz

The League is urging its members to contact their congressional delegation to urge opposition to H.R. 413 and S. 3194...You can too by going here.


“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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