March 22, 2005


GOP Governors Cut State Workers' Rights (ROBERT TANNER, 3/21/05, AP)

Republican governors in a few spots across the country are angering state employees by removing one of organized labor's strongest tools — the right to collective bargaining.

Governors in three states who've taken the step say it's about making government more efficient or being fair to non-union workers. Critics say it's political payback for labor's traditional support of Democrats and part of a wider shift to undermine workers in favor of big business.

Within hours or days of taking office this year, Mitch Daniels in Indiana and Matt Blunt in Missouri eliminated collective bargaining agreements for state employees, affecting about 50,000 workers. Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher did the same when he took office in 2003. In each case, the agreements had only been granted by executive order, not by law.

In Mississippi, where state employees don't have collective bargaining rights, GOP Gov. Haley Barbour supports a legislative effort to eliminate existing civil-service protections. In Oklahoma, the GOP-controlled state House approved a measure to repeal a law granting collective bargaining to municipal employees.

You have to like the part that accidentally refers to state governmet as "big business."

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 22, 2005 12:00 AM

"You have to like the part that accidentally refers to state governmet as 'big business'."

So true, oj. At this point, however, if California is any indication, its not about public unions per se; its about balancing state budgets. Given that public union demands are the biggest chunk of state budgets, however, they gotta go.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at March 22, 2005 1:31 AM

Civil service protections were designed to protect workers from political retribution and from having to kickback part of their income to a political machine. Today, the vast majority of civil servants are associated with the Democratic Party and their unions are important sources of funds for the Democratic Party, just as in the days when the court clerk and the teacher had to kick back 2% of their salaries to the ward boss who got them their jobs.

So how can civil service protections be said to have done their job?

Posted by: bart at March 22, 2005 11:28 AM
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