House Bill 4688, which would make minimum staffing levels for all local government units a mandatory topic of collective bargaining, was just voted out of House Labor Committee. It’s also possible this bill will be taken up by the full House of Representatives today. We need your help urging lawmakers to oppose this legislation.
This bill could have a disastrous impact on local government operations. The League has voiced strong opposition to this bill, both in committee and broader since its introduction. We have also proposed alternative language stating staffing levels are a mandatory subject of bargaining but not subject to Act 312 arbitration.
If passed, HB 4688 could place local governments in a difficult, or impossible, situation to maintain sufficient fund balances because unions will argue in arbitration (where these negotiations will inevitably end up) that funds can be spent to support increases to staffing levels because parks and recreation programs, maintenance of roads, and other matters that create or maintain a sense of place can be cut to do so.
It’s also worth noting this is especially problematic because of the other legislative changes made to intergovernmental agreements (signed by the Governor in August) greatly hindering, potentially preventing, the ability to contract with others to provide public safety services without collective bargaining that decision as well.
We encourage all members to contact your state representative and stress the importance of opposing HB 4688.
Dave Hodgkins is a legislative associate with the League. He may be reached at [email protected]