Note: The following contentions are prominent among the arguments used by proponents of the proposal. They do not necessarily represent the views of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
Civil Service Commission Has Too Much Power
The Civil Service Commission should not be allowed to interfere in the collective bargaining process of state workers. Collective bargaining is only allowed for state workers because the commission chooses to allow it. If they chose otherwise, employees would be denied this right. The commission determines which issues are and are not subject to negotiation. Collective bargaining is done under commission rules, with the understanding that the commission – essentially an agent of management - may revise the contract. If the parties reach an impasse, the commission has the authority to impose the terms of a contract.
Levels the Playing Field
This excessive authority at every step of the process skews it so as to limit settlements that otherwise might be negotiated. Collective bargaining agreements are devalued. A fair system requires an amendment to the Constitution making collective bargaining an absolute right of state workers, rather than a privilege that could be withdrawn by the commission.
State employees are prohibited by commission rule from striking. This creates an uneven playing field, because going on strike is the only real leverage employees have in wage and benefit negotiations. To level the field, it’s only fair to give employees the power to call for binding arbitration in the case of labor negotiation impasses.
State Employees Should Have Same Rights as Private Sector Employees
Finally, imagine if these same rules applied to private-sector workplaces. Employees could bargain collectively – unless the employer decided they could not. They could negotiate only on issues allowed by the employer. If the employer didn’t like the outcome of the negotiation, he could unilaterally revise the deal. And if employees didn’t like it, too bad, because strikes would be forbidden. Such a workplace clearly would be unfair. It’s clearly unfair for state workers to be subject to this very set of conditions. Proposal 02-3 will fix this, and should be adopted.