Democrats and the unions keep taxpayers in the dark about contracts

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HARRISBURG, Pa. – Could anyone possibly oppose the idea of letting taxpayers review the details of proposed labor contracts before school boards vote on them?

stop public accessAfter all, the contracts typically determine how millions of dollars in tax money are going to be spent, and the taxpayers provide the tax money.

Yet the Democrats in the Pennsylvania State House, most of whom are purchased puppets of the wealthy teachers unions, want to keep the public in the dark.

The Democrats are telling the citizens of Pennsylvania that it’s none of their business how their local school boards spend tax money. The unions prefer privacy when they extort millions of dollars from public schools, and the Democrats want to give them that privacy.

Can it get any more un-American than that?

House Bill 1741 would force local school boards to give at least a 48-hour notice before voting on any type of labor contract, whether it’s a collective bargaining agreement with a teachers union or a contract with professional employees.

School boards would also be required to publish a statement on the terms of the proposed contract, and its estimated cost to taxpayers on the district website in a general circulation newspaper.

Is this really too much to ask?

Yes, according to the Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee. Every one of them voted against the bill last month. It only passed out of committee because the Republicans, who are in the majority, voted unanimously in favor of it.

Few people may realize it, but the various provisions in a typical teacher union contract frequently determine how schools spend as much as three-quarters of their budgets. Labor costs dominate public school budgets, and powerful union bosses use the privacy of the closed collective bargaining room to force outrageous or unaffordable demands on frequently overwhelmed school board members.

Many believe the unions would be far less likely to make unreasonable financial demands if the public knew what was happening behind closed doors. That’s why several states, including Idaho and Minnesota, have made collective bargaining sessions open to the public. Other states, typically in the New England area, put the proposed contracts up for a public vote.

States that won’t go that far should at least allow the public to read the negotiated terms of the contracts before they are finalized, so they can let their elected school board members know how they feel about the various provisions and potential costs.

Rank-and-file union members are allowed to inspect the details of the proposed agreements before they vote on ratification. But the taxpayers – the people who pay for everything in the contract – are left in dark until the contract is ratified and their ability to raise objections has passed.

It’s clear that the Democratic Party has no respect for working people who pay taxes and fund local schools. The Democrats obviously want our communities, states and even our nation to be ruled with an iron fist by self-serving labor leaders. Why? Because they get millions of dollars in campaign funds from organized labor every election cycle. If the unions say jump, that’s precisely what the Democrats do.

If the people of Pennsylvania are willing to put up with this sort of closed, invisible and unresponsive government, then they deserve what they get.

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