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Another union sop: Public safety canard

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Friday, July 9, 2010

As if states aren't already choking on the ample bolus served up to public employee unions, congressional Democrats and some wayward Republicans want to provide yet another gooey bonbon to Big Labor. That is, by forcing collective bargaining for all police, fire and other emergency workers.

Whether the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act goes through in the supplemental funding bill or gets slipped into some other legislation, it portends far more damage than any conceivable public good. (See James Sherk's commentary here. )

Let's start with volunteer firefighting. Critics say this harebrained bill would compel volunteers to join unions, which don't exactly smile on members giving anything back to their communities. The International Association of Fire Fighters in fact prohibits members from serving as volunteers even when they're off duty. Forcing union cards on volunteers could be the death knell for the nation's 26,000 volunteer fire departments.

What of the 21 states that prohibit collective bargaining for public safety employees or leave the decision up to local jurisdictions• Their hands would be tied. And merit pay for superior public service• Forget that, too. Collective bargaining favors seniority.

This intolerable act amounts to federal encroachment on states' authority and public safety duty. It's a putrid excuse for an unmitigated union sop.

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