Letters to the Editor

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LABOR: Lesson learned from Wisconsin

Letter by Jerry E. Gibbs, Gig Harbor on June 6, 2012 at 10:40 am | 99 Comments »
June 6, 2012 11:09 am

The election in Wisconsin is over. I hope wounds heal and the state keeps moving in the right direction toward fiscal responsibility and fairness to taxpayers.

I believe we may be too blue a state to end collective bargaining, but other parts of Wisconsin’s union reforms should be considered by the Washington state Legislature and governor.

The fact that state worker dues are mandatory and collected by the state doesn’t pass the smell test. Presently taxpayers pay the administrative cost to collect these dues and send the dollars to the unions. State worker unions in turn donate that money to help elect the same politicians they bargain with for wages and benefits.

This sounds like quid pro quo to me and explains why we are in budget trouble with state worker pay and the costs of benefits and legacy retirement.

We must ask the Legislature why taxpayers should pay the administrative costs to collect these dues. What is so wrong with asking the unions to collect their own dues? If public sector unions are doing a good job for their members they will continue to send in the dues.

The federal government figured this out in 1978 when the Civil Service Reform act was passed by a Democratic administration, and the federal government stopped collecting dues for the unions. It’s time Washington state have this discussion.

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