Massachusetts House Passes Labor Law Reform

Health care benefits no longer subject to bargaining

The Boston Globe is reporting that the Massachusetts State House has passed a bill that would significantly cut back on the scope of collective bargaining for local government employees. Much like Michigan, Massachusetts law extends collective bargaining privileges to unions representing government employees, and has encountered fiscal difficulties on account of government employee benefits. The approach taken by Massachusetts is similar to one that has been suggested by a recent Mackinac Center study — limit the scope of negotiations.

In particular, the Massachusetts bill would remove health care benefits from collective bargaining, with the understanding that employees would receive a portion of funds saved when local governments change health insurance plans. House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Suffolk) claimed that the reform would save local governments throughout the state $100 million annually. The bill passed by a solid 111-42 margin.