I know, I know; that just sounds like a typical day at the Legislative Building, but in this case, it’s an especially egregious overreach.
The proposed legislation in question bears the wholly inaccurate and inadequate title “Local Government Regulatory Reform Act.”
What the bill really is is an offensive attack on local governments and average public workers.
Under the bill, local government workers — most notably first responders like police officers and firefighters — would lose their right have union dues voluntarily deducted from their pay. The most obvious targets of the measure are Greensboro and Charlotte firefighters (and other city employees) who just recently won the right to dues deduction after long campaigns with the city councils.
But, of course, the bill is also another attack on local control. Cities and counties have long made their own decisions about dues deductions. Most municipalities, for instance, already make payroll deductions for other organizations like United Way.
And since they do it for so many other organizations, making the deductions for union dues would have a minimal cost. Indeed, in some cases, the union has agreed to pay a setup fee.
Moreover, the dues deductions are completely voluntary. Only employees who sign an authorization form have the dues deducted.
Finally, to add insult to injury, the bill in question was rammed through the House Regulatory Reform Committee last Wednesday even though it wasn’t even on the public calendar.
The bottom line: The legislation is yet another cynical and ideologically driven power grab by far right forces who fear democratic action at the local level and average workers who band together to speak on their own behalf.
In short: Another day of “business as usual” at the 2013 General Assembly.