Setback for MSC workers

It is disappointing that a bill to give classified employees of Mesa State College the chance to opt out of the state personnel system was killed by Democrats in a Senate committee this week.

The bill originated with college employees who feared what may happen to their salaries and benefits if they remained in the state personnel system.

We could understand the reasoning by committee chairman, Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder — that Mesa State is part of a statewide higher education system, and if changes are to be made, they should be systemwide — except for one thing. Let some lawmaker introduce legislation to withdraw classified employees of every college and university in the state from the state personnel system, and we expect the result will be the same: Republicans will support it and Democrats will work furiously to kill it.

The Mesa State bill, sponsored by Rep. Laura Bradford in the House and Sen. Steve King in the Senate, isn’t the equivalent of the Wisconsin collective-bargaining fight. But it is part of a larger battle over the manner in which public employees should be represented and protected. As budget cuts are forcing employees and politicians alike to re-examine the old systems, many pols aren’t eager for any plan that let’s workers opt out of the long-established structure.


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