Tue July 16, 2013
Legislation Would Allow Petition Campaigns To Cap Public Employee Benefits
There’s legislation pending in Lansing that would allow voters to amend local charters to cap public employee compensation and benefits.
We have more from The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Rick Pluta.
Courts have held that local initiatives don’t trump collective bargaining rights. Former state Representative Leon Drolet heads the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance. He says the legislation is an effort to get around that to let voters run ballot drives and amend city charters.
“There would still be a collective bargaining process,” he says. “They would still set benefit levels. But there would be a cap on what the city could agree to, and what could be part of that negotiating process. Right now, there’s no cap.”
Drolet says his group is ready to launch ballot drives in several cities if the bill becomes law. But unions say it’s not necessary. They say voters already hold their elected officials responsible. And they say this could make it harder to bargain deferred compensation agreements that save local governments money when times are lean.