The Senate budget proposal that was released last week takes aim at our collective bargaining rights.
For the first time since negotiations began, Senate lawmakers have included funding for our DOC contract in their budget. This is good news and a signal that our phone calls, emails, and small business campaign are making a difference.
But here’s the caveat: The Senate wants to make the funding contingent on the passage of SB 6126, a bill that would weaken our collective bargaining rights by turning the process into a public spectacle. The bill contains provisions that could not pass during the normal legislative session.
SB 6126 would also:
- Create a formula for restricting future wage increases
- Insert legislators into the bargaining process
- Prohibit other public safety groups from accessing interest arbitration
- Undermine the ability of some employees from having a secure retirement.
Although the bill would temporarily grant interest arbitration to DOC, our interest arbitration rights would expire after six years. Make no mistake – your interest arbitration rights under SB 6126 would be severely limited. Any interest arbitration award that exceeded 3% over the two-year biennium would be subject to the new formula restricting future wage increases.
“Sun setting this provision and excluding other public safety personnel along with the other issues that I’ve raised is not something we can support,” said Michelle Woodrow, your Director of Corrections and Law Enforcement, who testified on the bill in a hearing before the Senate Ways & Means Committee on May 26.
A Step Closer to a Government Shutdown
By continuing to hold our contracts hostage, the Senate is irresponsibly putting the public at risk of a government shutdown, which will occur if the legislature is unable to pass an operating budget by June 30.
On Friday, the Governor called a second special session and urged lawmakers to return to the bargaining table. On the same day, the Office of Financial Management notified us of its intent to implement temporary layoffs in the event the legislature is unable to pass a budget by the end of the biennium. We will keep you posted as soon as information becomes available.
In the meantime, the Senate needs to act! It needs to stop playing chicken with our livelihoods and pass a budget that preserves our collective bargaining rights and fully funds our contract.
Call your State Senator now at 1-800-562-6000. Tell him/her to fund our contract and not to tie the funding to provisions that would weaken our collective bargaining rights!