Government collective bargaining transparency important for public trust

By JASON MERCIER  | 
POLICY NOTES
|
Jul 27, 2020

Key Findings:

  1. We need look no further than the recent protests across the country to understand the importance that government transparency, or the lack of it, has on building public trust.
  2. When government employment decisions are made behind closed doors and the contracts subsequently undermine common-sense proposals for accountability, frustration and mistrust in our important institutions grow.
  3. Since taxpayers are ultimately responsible for funding these government union contract agreements, they should be allowed to monitor the negotiation process so they may hold the elected officials who represent them accountable for their actions.
  4. Contract transparency is the norm in nearly half the states across the country.
  5. Several local governments in Washington State have also enacted contract transparency.
  6. Since government employee contracts account for such a large portion of public spending, they should not be negotiated in secret.

 

Introduction

            We need look no further than the recent protests across the country to understand the importance that government transparency, or the lack of it, has on building public trust. This is especially true when it comes to the decisions being made in various government employee contracts for those in a position of public trust, like teachers and police. When these decisions are made behind closed doors and the contracts subsequently undermine common-sense proposals for accountability, frustration and mistrust in our important institutions grow. Thankfully, there is bipartisan support for adopting important contract transparency reforms.

Consider the following statement from a May 24, 2016 legal brief filed by then President Obama’s Department of Justice concerning accountability for the Seattle Police Department...

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