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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Time to Sunshine our Labor Contracting Process -- School Districts Do It -- Our City Government Should Do No Less

Government_Transparency_Six_Strategies-cover (Photo credit: Knight Foundation)
Sunlight Foundation
Sunlight Foundation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I said this several years ago and I will say it again: Schools districts are required by law to be open and transparent in the collective bargaining process. Just take a look at the Long Beach Unified School District’s website and you will find public information on the progress of negotiations 
( There are no surprises for the public when the contracts are brought to the Board of Education in a public session for ratification. Our City government should do no less.

Schools districts are required by Government Code Section 3547 to “sunshine” collective bargaining proposals and to give the public an opportunity in an open meeting to provide input on the proposals. Our City government should do no less.

We can either make this an amendment to our City Charter and let the voters approve or the Council can pass an ordinance and make it law immediately before the next round of negotiations begin.
In either case, the public should know what we are doing. And the public should have been told that proposed contracts with three bargaining groups had been voted on by their members before the City budget was approved. (By the way, when an employee association has a public vote to ratify a proposed agreement – that isn’t and should not be considered a secret to be kept from taxpayers.)

These contracts will come back to City Council for its public ratification but well after the City budget was approved. That’s not open and transparent and the process must be changed.
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