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Nebraska Locals Defend Public Workers


February 15, 2011

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Workers across Nebraska are pushing back against proposals by state legislators that would severely undermine collective bargaining for state and municipal employees.

Among the proposals is elimination of the Commission on Industrial Relations. The commission resolves disputes between municipalities and unions over wages by comparing compensation levels with an array of cities and towns of similar size. Unions and employers jointly contribute to the costs of such investigations.

Some state legislators have also proposed a constitutional amendment to eliminate collective bargaining for public workers altogether.

Says International Representative Rich Michel:

The Commission on Industrial Relations was established to provide a framework for public services to continue to be delivered without strikes while disputes are constructively resolved.  Doing away with CIR while eliminating collective bargaining by public employees would be a step back toward serfdom. We are open to discussing reasonable changes, but not turning back the clock on workers’ rights.

The Lincoln Journal Star quoted Mark Salerno, business manager of Omaha Local 1483, who addressed a news conference opposing the changes:

[The measures] are radical proposals that infringe upon citizens’ freedom of association and right to come together as individuals and collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests.

Click here to read the story in the Journal Star.


Photo used under a Creative Commons license from flickr user SLV Native.