Opinions from a state without collective bargaining

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – It’s been a recurring argument from councilmen behind controversial collective bargaining ordinances: States like North Carolina don’t have collective bargaining, and they’re doing fine. But just like in Fort Wayne, there are two very different opinions on having no collective bargaining in North Carolina.

Nine Fort Wayne city unions currently use collective bargaining for negotiations with the administration.  The three proposals by two Fort Wayne councilmen include:

  • Eliminating collective bargaining for all non-public safety employees
  • Consolidating the six non-public safety unions to two
  • Eliminating collective bargaining for public safety employees

Presentations made regarding collective bargaining

The state of North Carolina banned collective bargaining in 1959. Representatives with the State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC) say without collective bargaining, there are still unions. But the unions do more political lobbying for laws and causes.

Toni Davis is the director of communications for SEANC, which represents about 55,000 state employees and retirees. She says without collective bargaining, many members don’t feel like they have much of a voice when it comes to wages and negotiations.

“In North Carolina, they say you can either have collective bargaining, which employees don’t have yet…or collective begging,” Davis said.

But the executive director of North Carolina’s League of Municipalities says no collective bargaining has contributed to fiscal responsibility and almost fully-funded pensions.

“Part of why that system is funded so well (we are 99.5 percent funded) is that we haven’t been chewed up by negotiations or collective bargaining agreements at either the state or local level,” said Paul Meyer, the executive director of the North Carolina League of Municipalities.

Beverly B. Thompson, public affairs director with the city of Durham, North Carolina, thinks given the recent economy, collective bargaining wouldn’t have helped wages.

Chris Skinner, president of the Southern States Police Benevolent Association, brought a different topic to the collective bargaining debate – job security. Skinner says without collective bargaining, it’s common for employees to be let go or undercut for a deserving promotion for no reason. He says his union would definitely want collective bargaining.

Back in Fort Wayne, nine city councilmen are expected to vote on the three collective bargaining ordinances at the next meeting on Tuesday, May 27.

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