Binding Arbitration = Tax Hike
The House and Senate Labor Committees will be conducting simultaneous hearings and votes on binding arbitration laws tomorrow. A fait accompli? Probably.
Tim Duffy, executive director of the Rhode Island Association of School Committees, whose organization opposes the legislation on grounds that it would make local taxpayers liable for the decisions of an unelected panel, said the move by both labor committees to act on the same legislation on the same day “does not bode well for our ability to stop its happening.”
“It indicates a deal has been cut between the House and the Senate leadership to pass a binding arbitration bill,” Duffy said. “It seems that the teacher unions have convinced legislative leadership that since the fiscal 2012 budget ended longevity bonuses for state employees they should be awarded binding arbitration as a concession. The state gets $4 million in savings and local government gets to pay for it with a new unfunded mandate.”
Quid pro quo (OK, enough Latin)…no one should be surprised. We’ve been warning about it for a while. Why is it so bad, you may ask? Because it basically takes away the ability of school committees or city and town councils to actually negotiate with unions. Instead, the unions can play a waiting game, go to an arbitrator (or arbitration panel) who will, in the best case scenario, cut the baby in half between two proposals. Arbitrators are wont to look at so-called “comparables”–contracts and compensation data from other communities–that inherently benefit unions (someone, somewhere is always paying more) all while ignoring the actual ability of communities (ie; taxpayers) to pay. The end result: taxes go up.