Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Live Like Slaves, Part II

I wrote last week about newly elected Missouri Governor Matt Blunt repealing collective bargaining rights for public employees. Newly elected Governor Mitch Daniels has now done the same thing to Indiana public employees.
Daniels said those restrictions are especially troublesome for child welfare programs, whose structure could not be changed without significant notice to unions.

He also said anecdotal evidence abounds that union representation has hurt employee performance and public safety. Without specifics, he cited a "real world example" where union grievance procedures kept a snowplow driver on the road despite multiple failures on drug screens.

"It really encumbers the ability of state government to make the changes it needs to make," he said of the bargaining agreements.
The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette was not amused:
Indiana voters impressed by the down-home, good ol’ boy feel of Mitch Daniels’ backroads campaign tour must be surprised this week to find an all-business corporate executive in the governor’s office. In his first full day on the job, Daniels stripped 24,000 state employees of their collective bargaining rights and made it clear that business interests will come before public health and the environment by firing the state’s top environmental administrators.


Daniels’ election victory certainly gave him the authority not to renew an executive order granting collective bargaining rights, but the quick, partisan swipe at labor was unnecessary. It’s not as if state employees have grown rich at the state’s expense – half of them earn less than $29,738 a year.