Thursday, March 08, 2012

Florida Court Rules that the State Government Cannot Unilaterally Modify State Employee Contracts

The ruling at the trial court level overturned  the Legislature's decision last year to cut public employees salaries 3 percent, eliminate cost-of-living adjustments, and shift the savings into the general revenue fund to offset the state's contribution to their retirement account.  The court ruled that doing this without renegotiating their contracts, reached as a result of collective bargaining, was an "unconstitutional taking."  The State of Florida will appeal the decision.

I can't tell from what I read whether, had the State attempted to renegotiate the contracts and the employees union resisted any changes whatever - so that there was an impasse - the State would have been able to make these changes.  Or whether the State's action resulted from its knowing that there was no use to the effort.

This is where we are when government grants collective bargaining rights to its employees.  This battle is being waged across the country as the tax base contracts.  In making those contracts, the government gives up a slice of its sovereignty.  If the government is a representative democracy, then that means it gives up a slice of the freedom of its citizens.


No comments: