Letters to the Editor

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UNIONS: Public should get to vote on retirement contracts

Letter by Don C. Pearson, Lakewood on June 8, 2012 at 9:33 am | 81 Comments »
June 8, 2012 9:33 am

Re: “Public unions meet their ultimate employers: Voters” (editorial, 6-7).

I would suggest that, since voters are indeed the employers of public employees, long-term retirement contracts negotiated between the state and/or local governments and public employee unions be submitted to the voters for approval.

These benefit contracts commit the public to large financial liabilities that last for decades. They involve a significant percentage of public debt. The situation is no different from the public debt incurred for bond issues that routinely are voted up or down by the public. Why not let the voters have their say for the indebtedness for which they are burdened by these long-term contracts?

A public vote would eliminate the present situation of employees “negotiating” with politicians whose re-election depends upon the votes of those same employees. The voters who pay the bills should decide if such contracts are appropriate and reasonable. The public employees would have the opportunity to make their case to their real employers, the voters.

Also, it would reduce the fact that politicians now can vote for excessive benefits knowing that the financial problems that result will come due long after they have left office. At present, political accountability is almost non-existent.

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