“Modified” Binding Arbitration: A Bad Idea is Still Bad Even if It’s Tweaked
Following upon a very well attended hearing yesterday,
Opponents clogged the State House committee room, spilling into the marble hallway and lining the walls. Some held signs of protest above their heads for hours.
It was an unusual display for a workday hearing on a legislative proposal entitled simply, “School Teacher Arbitration.”
the Providence Journal’s Steve Peoples reports this morning on the latest status of binding arbitration.
[Spokesman for House Speaker William Murphy Larry] Berman characterized the draft legislation discussed Wednesday as “a touchstone for a larger discussion of the issue itself,” suggesting a modified version may emerge.
Andrew had pointed out that binding arbitration undemocratically (and possibly unconstitutionally?) removes the expenditure of tax dollars from the hands of elected officials and places it in the hands of (usually biased) non-elected ones who do not answer to the taxpayer/voter.
And Justin highlighted the cost of such a system in Connecticut; namely, compensation adjustments that go only one way.
What would a modified version of binding arbitration look like? Compensation adjustments that continue to go one way, just at a slower rate? (As tax revenue on Smith Hill and around the state has been going in the other direction for the third year in a row, this doesn’t seem terribly feasible.) Would elected and non-elected officials take turns writing checks on the taxpayers’ account so it’s non-democratic “only” 50% of the time? (Still sounds undemocratic to me.)
So let’s throw it open to suggestions. How would you “modify” binding arbitration – still leaving in place the current precedents and arbitrators which tilt significantly to one side of the table – to make it a fair, equitable and democratic process?