Mar 13 2011
Wisconsin, Ohio and a few states have eroded the collective bargaining rights of hard working public employees as a strategy to address the significant budget shortfalls they are experiencing. Believing there are smarter and more sustainable ways to address budget deficits, I co-authored Resolution 31271 which recognized the contributions of public employees and declared March, 8, 2011 as “Public Employee Appreciation Day” in Seattle. The vast majority of public employees are talented, skilled and hard-working neighbors and family members. They provide vital services with professionalism and integrity and work hard to make our communities good places to live and raise our families.
The resolution specifically emphasizes the Seattle City Council’s support for public employees’ right to organize and bargain collectively and our opposition of any attempt to restrict or eliminate collective bargaining in the state of Washington. It emphasizes our commitment to employees and their right to a fair and respectful process of bargaining.
When asked, labor unions and employees in Seattle have stepped forward to voluntarily participate in wage and benefit reductions, furloughs and other cost saving measures to address our budget shortfall. I do not anticipate any local budgets significantly improving in the near future. Therefore, it will take sustainable partnerships with labor; ones that explore new and creative work-rules and opportunities for labor to drive efficiencies that will be our preferred strategy. Our relationship with labor will not be the problem; it will be our solution.