Much noise has been made about Governor Scott Walker’s tough stance on union contracts and bargaining rights out in Wisconsin lately. The big national unions are up in arms because a Republican governor is trying to balance his state’s books in the face of nearly 4 BILLION DOLLARS in debt. *GASP* Governor Walker has been vilified in EVERY, and I mean EVERY MSM outlet because of his much-distorted stance on collective bargaining. But I have news for you. Governor Walker is a PIKER when compared with our former Mayor / Governor Ed “Fast Eddy” Rendell.
As Mayor of Philadelphia, Governor Rendell was able to get legislation passed that is much worse than Gov. Walker’s right here in union-friendly Philadelphia. The horror, the horror. Yet there were no sit-ins with dopey college kids banging drums. No one brought LIVE AMMO into city hall (imagine if live ammo were found at a Tea Party event) and no one did 7 MILLION DOLLARS in damage to a government building. Philly City Council didn’t flee to New Jersey (like we all hoped they would). As cops and firefighters, we squawked but got NO support from big labor. And so it came to pass that section 12720.209K of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority Act became law. It effectively altered “binding” arbitration to allow the city to appeal any award cops and firefighters get as a result of extensive contract negotiations, talks decided by neutral arbitrators.
The city effectively appeals EVERY award now, spending millions of tax dollars on lawyers, fighting awards that are essentially within their ability to pay. Remember, public safety is an ESSENTIAL function of government. For the record I am a member of Phila. Firefighters Local # 22 (IAFF) and I have ENORMOUS problems with the IAFF. Here is the relevant section from the PICA law for you to chew on:
(j) Effect of plan upon contracts and collective bargaining agreements.–
(1) A contract or collective bargaining agreement in existence in an assisted city prior to the approval by the authority of a financial plan submitted pursuant to this section shall remain effective after approval of such plan until such contract or agreement expires.
(2) After the approval by the authority of a financial plan submitted pursuant to this section, an assisted city shall execute contracts and collective bargaining agreements in compliance with such plan. If a city executes a contract or a collective bargaining agreement which is not in compliance with the plan, the contract or agreement shall not be void or voidable solely by reason of such noncompliance, but the city shall submit to the authority a proposed revision to the plan which demonstrates that revenues sufficient to pay the costs of the contract or collective bargaining agreement will be available in the affected fiscal years of the plan.
(k) Effect of plan upon certain arbitration awards.–
(1) After the approval by the authority of a financial plan submitted pursuant to this section, any determination of a board of arbitration established pursuant to the provisions of the act of June 24, 1968 (P.L. 237, No. 111), referred to as the Policemen and Firemen Collective Bargaining Act, [FN5] providing for an increase in wages or fringe benefits of any employee of an assisted city under the plan, in addition to considering any standard or factor required to be considered by applicable law, shall take into consideration and accord substantial 53 P.S. § 12720.209 Page 5 weight to:
(i) the approved financial plan; and (ii) the financial ability of the assisted city to pay the cost of such increase in wages or fringe benefits without adversely affecting levels of service.
So as you can see Philadelphia cops and firefighters have been under STRICT bargaining rules since 1991. This law DEMANDS that Philly balance its budget. Yet Philly firefighters are STILL WORKING without a contract coming up on a YEAR AND A HALF thanks to our latest Democrat Mayor, MIKE NUTTER. Nutter closed 10 fire companies and instituted a “Disasterous Rolling Brownout”policy to balance the budget. Yet PHA and the school district waste millions.