* Senate President Pro Tempore Don Harmon withdrew his motion to reconsider last night, meaning that the so-called “management bill” is heading to the governor’s desk. Harmon released a statement yesterday about his decision and what preceded it, calling the years-long process “one of the most difficult and frustrating negotiations of my career.” An excerpt…
The bill itself is not the draconian “Scott-Walker-esque” horror show that some opponents describe. If the bill were signed into law, it would not affect “thousands” of union employees, though it may affect hundreds of state employees who probably never should have been unionized in the first place. Still, no one will lose a job—they will just be removed from the collective bargaining unit.
Immediately after the Senate approved the bill, I filed a motion to reconsider the vote. This was a procedural means to keep the bill in the Senate’s control while we tried one last time to negotiate a fair rebalancing of the State’s workforce, giving the Governor the tools he needs to govern, and protecting the right of rank-and-file workers to organize and bargain collectively.
While we were not able to negotiate a comprehensive solution before my motion expired, I did secure several key promises from the Governor. Most importantly, the Governor committed to the following four points:
1. He will negotiate with the unions a fair and equitable process for implementing the bill, which will permit, whenever possible, employees to transfer into union positions rather than be removed from the union;
2. He will not sign the bill before the deadline so that negotiations of the implementation process and clarifying legislation can unfold;
3. He will not use the full measure of authority granted to him, and will designate fewer employees than allowed by law for exclusion from collective bargaining; and
4. He will not reduce the salary of any employee whose position is excluded from collective bargaining.
* And there could be a trailer bill…
Harmon said additional legislation may be needed if negotiations succeed.