Let governor's veto of public workers' transfer bill stand
State lawmakers are set to override a veto of a measure that would require negotiations in public employees' work transfers.
A BILL that would force state and county administrators to negotiate public employees' transfer and work assignments improperly inserts a law into collective bargaining contracts, effectively achieving what union leaders have not be able to do for their members.
Gov. Linda Lingle's veto of the measure, the third that union-beholden legislators have passed in as many years, should stand. If the Democratic-led House and Senate override the veto, they will be endorsing inefficient government operations and wasted taxpayer dollars as their maxim.
The bill is a reaction to a 2005 state Supreme Court ruling in a dispute about the transfer of refuse workers left idle after the city began automated trash pickup. The court said the city had the right to put them to work where they were needed -- at a short-staffed baseyard where overtime was costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Lawmakers had been unsuccessful in overriding previous vetoes, but this year seemed to have the votes. The prospect drew police, fire and other state and county administrators to the state Capitol to argue against the override, presenting worst-case scenarios in which the law would prevent them from shifting workers in emergencies.
Union leadership took issue with that, saying workers would never refuse to do whatever was necessary in emergencies, as was clear when heavy rains last year had city and state employees clearing streams and mudslides despite job classifications and work sites.
However, the unions do not need the law. If they want the right to negotiate transfers with management, the proper venue would be to enter a clause in their contracts.
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