Public-sector unions have a competitive advantage that no other private organization enjoys: their members are forced to join.
There are many products and services that I enjoy, but I'm free to choose whether I purchase them or not. I would be offended if, as a condition of my employment, I was forced to join an organization, or buy a product.
But that's not the way it is with public-sector unions. People who work for the state, or municipal governments are forced to join the union.
Clark County is trying to change that.
Clark County is investigating a suite of good-government ideas that will potentially make their collective bargaining negotiations open to the public and give their employees a choice to join the employees' union or not.
The transparency idea will make the collective bargaining negotiations open to the public, but does not invite public participation in the meetings. The resolution allows each negotiating party to meet separately in private for the purposes of discussing negotiation strategy, but when the negotiations resume, they must be open to the public.
The other resolution asks the county's representative to negotiation the union security clause. This is the provision that currently requires county employees to join the union as a condition of their employment. In other words, county employees are currently forced to join the union. The County Council's resolution could potentially give employees a choice to join the union or not.
Labor unions have begun pushing back against these common sense ideas, and testified yesterday in front of the County Councilors.
Shannon Walker, President Southwest Washington Central Labor Council begun her testimony by attacking the Freedom Foundation saying, "they are an Olympia-based right-wing think tank that aggressively opposes unions." She continues, "It is union busting … for you to say this isn't union busting makes me sick to my stomach."
The union arguments fell largely along the lines accusing the county of union busting.
Of course the union bosses are upset about these resolutions because up until now, they have collected dues from a forced membership. The Clark County Commissioners simply want to give their employees a choice when it comes to union membership.
If successful, Clark County will be the first county in the state to enact such reforms.
Two draft resolutions have already been posted on the Clark County Grid, which is the county's website used to communicate with the public