Collective Bargaining, Warts on a Toad & Secret Agent Decoder Rings

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If there’s one word that’ll make public sector labor unions ‘hop to’ right quick, it’s “transparency.” Here are some more: open negotiations. Full disclosure. Sunshine. Or any other derivative not related to secret, in the dark, cloak-and-dagger, behind-closed-doors collective bargaining discussions wherein taxpayers might actually find out where their taxpayer dollar$ are going – and how much.

Fearing an outbreak of transparency in collective bargaining talks, not one but two public sector labor union field reps came charging into Grays Harbor at yesterday’s afternoon meeting of the GH Board of Commissioners. They showed up in response to a resolution introduced – and shot down – at last week’s Monday afternoon commission meeting.

Well, holy Moses! Apparently sunshine is such a threat to public employee rights that one guy with the International Union of North America – “affiliated with the AFL-CIO” – drove over from Clark County to saber rattle.

Mr. Deken Letinich of the IUNA (I just made that up) took to the podium during the public comment period to remind Commissioners Gordon, Cormier and Raines that open discussions of this type are “illegal.” Any attempt to supercede state laws about same is “illegal.” Publicly negotiating public employee rights is “illegal.”

Yea, verily, the number of times “illegal” came up in relation to “transparency” was impressive. Kind of like warts on a toad.

Mr. Letinich was nice enough to hand me his card when I asked. So was his compadre, Mr. Rod Lake, field representative for Laborers Local 252. That was a relief. Frankly, I wasn’t too sure they’d respond favorably. After all, my “cloak and dagger” outfit is at the cleaner’s.  I’m a little rusty on the secret handshake. And doggone if I didn’t leave my secret agent decoder ring at home.

Besides, we all know where sunshine might lead when it comes to collective bargaining negotiations. And we can’t have that now, can we?