The U.S. Senate may vote as soon as this week on whether to allow police officers, firefighters and state troopers across North Carolina the right to bargain collectively on pay, benefits and hours.With all the news that we've been having about the effect of public employees unions on local and state budgets do we really need such a bill to step on the rights of individual states to decide such matters? It's just another of the sort of things that Reid is doing to curry favor with his base back home in Nevada. He wants to demonstrate to the unions that they need to pull out all the stops to support him this Novemeber.
The legislation, supported by unions but strongly opposed by the state's municipalities, would overturn a 51-year-old law in the Tar Heel state. It would require local government employers, including cities, counties and the state, to negotiate with their public safety workers.
The workers covered by the legislation would include prison guards, Highway Patrol troopers, sheriff's deputies, police officers, emergency responders and firefighters.
The pressure is on Senator Kay Hagan to see how she would vote on the bill.
Opponents say it's too soon to say how much the bill could cost local governments. But the N.C. League of Municipalities has been lobbying U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Greensboro Democrat, to vote against the amendment.But would she support a filibuster to block the bill? And what about Virginia's two Democratic senators since Virginia is the other state that bar collective bargaining in the public sector.
Today in Raleigh and Charlotte, a radio ad will begin airing that includes a quote Hagan left on a reporter's voice mail during her 2008 campaign, saying she would oppose such federal legislation. The ad is paid for by a coalition of government and business interests.
Hagan said in a statement Tuesday that she opposes the legislation because it would infringe on states' rights.
How typical of Reid to try to slip this through on a bill to pay for funding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I guess he's hoping that it will be a "little-noticed" provision.