Goldwater Institute Says, “It’s Snowing in Goodyear”

Goldwater Institute article about Goodyear considering passing “Meet and Confer” ordinance for GY’s public safety unions.  Do yourself a favor and read this.

The ordinance is already written, (here it is proposed ordinance )and it is already on the agenda to be discussed.  Who do you suppose made that happen? Do you think that GY city council would prepare an agenda item to consider something if you or I just asked them to?

More payback. Take note of who on GY city council supports this and compare it to what I wrote in March of this year;

What the AZ Republic or the West Valley View should do now (but they probably won’t) is submit a Freedom of Information request to GY for all correspondence to or from any GY city council member that references the meet and confer topic and all correspondence from any GY union reps.  Same for Fischbach and all his direct reports, plus the lawyer (although I expect GY will say anything the lawyer is copied on is “attorney client privileged”).  Then they should report back to you and tell you who’s been pushing this.

Why aren’t I making that FOIA request?  Maybe because of what I wrote in the article link above and also what I wrote in May of this year;

There are some scary guys out there when you start writing stuff about GY public safety unions and I’ve saved emails from some of them that demonstrate it.  Best of luck, Goodyear, you and your “free press” are on your own on this one.

More from GWI on Meet & Confer. GWI Article


10 Responses

  1. Meet and confer was the absolute most important priority for both union presidents during the last election cycle. Any endorsement they were willing to give was directly related to whether a candidate would push for meet and confer.

  2. Do these unions now have collective bargaining agreements with the city? If so, what new or additional advantages do they see from Meet & Confer? Goldwater says they could sue, but I don’t see any reference to that in the proposal . Are suits prohibited by existing agreements or laws?.No, I don’t like the sound of this, but I don’t follow what the catch is. Fill me in.

  3. With all do respect to Mr. Rassas and Mrs. Freeman that sounds like sour grapes. I think these two will jump on any opportunity to bolster their standing for their next political attempts.

    Had they attended the meeting, or watched it from home as I did, they would realize that Arizona is a right to work state. There is no “collective bargaining” allowed in Arizona nor are local governments required to bargain in “good faith” with any associations. To answer Mr. Lawson’s question they WOULD NOT have the ability to sue, they would have no ground/merit. Like him, I don’t understand what the catch is either. It seems to me that giving the people who protect us a “voice” with out giving them collective bargaining is a non issue.

    I was very disappointed to learn that the Goldwater Institute, an organization I usually find very informative, decided to try and promote fear mongering vs. real information.

    As a great researcher I encourage you to look into to some of the case law, like I did, and get back to your readers about what meet and confer actually is.

    Here are a few case law points made by the labor attorney at Mondays work session (power point available on-line).

    Public sector collective bargaining is prohibited in Arizona
    –Ariz. Att’y Gen’l Op. 74-11; Ariz. Att’l Gen’l Op. I06-004
    –A public employer cannot enter a binding agreement with an employee association because doing so would constitute a delegation of authority and violate elected officials’ responsibility to make decisions
    –A public employer may not enter an agreement that would supersede or conflict with the County Employee Merit System

    –“Although a memorandum of understanding may result from the process, no binding agreement may be the production of such negotiation; final decision-making authority is necessarily reserved to the public employer.” Ariz. Att’l Gen’l Op. I06-004.

    It seems to me that you would applaud any decision that takes power away from the city manger and leaves the ultimate decision in the hands of the elected officials (the people)…but then again we disagree on a lot of things that make sense.

  4. Al Lewis, your claims about Arizona law are simply not true

    Arizona lacks statutory collective bargaining authority, but it does not prohibit it and local “meet and confer” ordinances make up the difference. Although public sector unions in right-to-work states, like Arizona, still assiduously refuse to equate “meet and confer” and “collective bargaining” laws, the distinction between “meet and confer” and “collective bargaining” laws no longer makes much of a difference. When such laws first appeared, “meet and confer” laws authorized public sector unions and government management to engage in entirely optional collective negotiations. They were enacted to displace a backdrop of common and statutory laws that prohibited even voluntary negotiations between public sector unions and public employers. Labor advocates later applied the term “meet and confer” to laws that compelled public employers to engage in “good faith” negotiations with public sector unions, but which did not require government to agree to a union contract.

    Today, both “meet and confer” and “collective bargaining” laws usually authorize state and local governments to reach binding contracts with public sector unions—contracts that can bind the hands of subsequent legislatures and city councils because of the constitutional protection afforded contractual obligations under federal and state constitutions. Moreover, if unions believe the negotiations are not being conducted by their employer in “good faith,” both “collective bargaining” and “meet and confer” laws empower public sector unions to seek administrative or judicial intervention to compel public employers to bargain. See Phoenix v. PERB, 699 P.2d 1323, 1326-29 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1985) (“It is apparent from the foregoing description that the meet and confer ordinance establishes a procedure whereby City management and employee representatives are expected to negotiate in good faith and reach an agreement concerning wages, hours, and other working conditions. It is anticipated that the negotiations, which are the essence of the meet and confer process, will produce a memorandum of understanding reflecting the agreement between City management and the employee representatives. Importantly, the final decision-making authority is expressly reserved to the Phoenix City Council because the memorandum of understanding is not to be effective until it is approved by the Council . . . . The employee organizations have only suggested, and correctly so, that the terms of the meet and confer ordinance be followed and that issues which are subject to negotiation be, in fact, negotiated as a predicate to final action by the City Council.”); see also AFSCME v. Phoenix, 142 P.3d 234, 235 n.1 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2006) (“In pertinent part, the term “meet and confer” means the performance of the mutual obligation of the public employer through its chief administrative officer or his designee and the designees of the authorized representative to meet at reasonable times, including meetings in advance of the budget making process; and to confer in good faith with respect to wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment or any question arising thereunder, and the execution of a written memorandum of understanding embodying all agreements reached”).

    In short, both labels have come to denote essentially the same thing—laws that require public employers to bargain, i.e. negotiate, with public sector unions in good faith over wages, benefits, terms and conditions of employment. And however they are labeled, such laws are heavily influenced by the National Labor Relations Act. Courts enforcing them look directly to National Labor Relations Board precedent for guidance. In addition to the ability to compel public employers to remain at the bargaining table until “good faith” is demonstrated, these laws deploy many other aspects of the federal doctrine of “unfair labor practices” to hang a legal threat over public employers who refuse to yield to union demands. This power to keep—or threaten to keep—a public employer indefinitely engaged in a costly rope-a-dope of court-supervised contract disputes and negotiations gives public sector unions significant legal leverage in bargaining, which is roughly equivalent to that wielded by private sector unions under the NLRA in more than two-thirds of the nation’s states. As a result, “a considerable amount of bargaining does transpire” in states such as Arizona notwithstanding local reticence to describe such bargaining as “collective. See Richard C. Kearney and David G. Carnevale, Labor Relations in the Public Sector 65-66 (3rd ed. Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, 2001).

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