Bill is no bargain for local government

Democratic leaders in Congress have resurrected a bill that stalled on Capitol Hill last year. And they’ve placed it on a fast-track approval, even though it supersedes the decisions of local governments and their voters.

S. 3194 would grant every municipal police officer, firefighter and emergency medical technician in the country the right to form or join a union and would require cities and towns to engage in collective bargaining with those unions. It doesn’t matter what state or local law says.

In Colorado, such decisions are left to home-rule cities to decide for themselves whether to accept public-employees unions. Readers may recall that voters in Grand Junction explicitly rejected collective bargaining for its police and firefighters a few years ago. Why should Congress now dictate that such a vote doesn’t matter?

Those decisions should be left to state and local governments.

Furthermore, Reid’s legislation would overturn National Labor Relations Act rules that have recognized local control on this issue for more than 75 years.

No wonder both the National League of Cities and the Colorado Municipal League oppose the measure. We hope Colorado’s senators, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, will oppose the bill if it makes it to the Senate. They need to recognize the rights of municipalities and their taxpayers, and not capitulate to the wishes of public-employees unions.


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