It rarely snows in the Valley — especially in October. But the Goodyear city council is about to get snowed by United Goodyear Fire Department Local 4005.
The union is lobbying hard to get a “meet and confer” ordinance passed, claiming that the right to meet and confer is not the same as collective bargaining.
But “meet and confer” and “collective bargaining” laws are essentially the same. Both severely limit the freedom of governments to require efficiency, savings or productivity from their unionized employees.
Like any other collective bargaining law, a meet and confer ordinance would empower Local 4005 to go to court and force Goodyear to negotiate their next contract in “good faith.” Of course, what good faith means is almost entirely in the eye of the beholder.
Meet and confer would give Local 4005 the power to sue Goodyear for bad-faith negotiations if things fail to go their way, threatening a costly rope-a-dope of court-supervised contract negotiations until and unless the city yields to their demands.
Passing such a law in Goodyear would be unfair to taxpayers and exceedingly unwise in today’s economy. As seen in Phoenix and other cities that already have “meet and confer” laws, giving such bargaining power to public-sector unions results in contracts that give public employees unsustainable levels of compensation and even outright subsidies to the unions themselves.
If Local 4005 claims otherwise, the Goodyear city council should bring snow shovels to the next public hearing.
Nick Dranias holds the Clarence J. and Katherine P. Duncan Chair for Constitutional Government and is director of the Joseph and Dorothy Donnelly Moller Center for Constitutional Government at the Goldwater Institute.
Goldwater Institute: Money for Nothing: Phoenix taxpayers foot the bill for union work
City of Goodyear: Agenda and draft ordinance
United Goodyear Firefighters: Local 4005