Thursday, April 9, 2015

Round up the unusual suspect

In this case, Melissa Santos, staff writer at the Olympian (the newspaper serving the capital of the state of Washington). She stands out as one of the one percent...of journalists who have a clue about economics (a rare breed, in our experience), if this is representative of her skill and knowledge;
Senate Republicans last week proposed a way to save on state worker pay raises: Reject the labor contracts the state has already negotiated and give state agency employees annual bumps of $1,000 each instead.
The only problem? The Legislature doesn’t actually have the authority to make that happen.
David Schumacher, the budget director for Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, raised that issue in a letter to House and Senate budget writers Wednesday.
Then Ms Santos goes on to show that Mr. Schumacher is full of it...and merely promoting the interests of organized labor (one of his governor's major campaign contributors). The law in question may not give the legislature a place at the bargaining table, but in a republican form of government, the legislators do have the power of the purse.
But Republicans insist their plan would work because they aren’t dictating the exact terms of the contracts. The Senate budget would set aside a pot of money large enough to fund annual $1,000 raises for state agency employees — or $95.8 million over two years — and send the governor’s office and 23 employee unions back to the bargaining table to negotiate any deal they’d like.
Of course, the unions and their puppet governor don't like that deal at all. They didn't like it when the legislature did something very similar in 2003;
“We believe it was illegal in 2003 and what they’re proposing is illegal now,” wrote Adam Glickman, secretary treasurer for SEIU 775 NW, in an email Wednesday.
The state’s largest employee union, the Washington Federation of State Employees, also has said that the plan laid out in the Senate budget would violate the state’s collective bargaining laws.
Which they wrote for their captives in legislature past.

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