November 20, 2007

Chieftain: Ritter's Order Unnecessary, Counterproductive, and Harmful

The Pueblo Chieftain joins other Colorado newspaper editorial voices in rejecting the arguments made for Gov. Ritter's executive order unionizing state employees:
While he hopes his partnership arrangements will lead to new efficiencies, just the opposite could result. Unions are notorious for demanding - and receiving - work rules that often run counter to efficient operations. In addition to high medical insurance costs, old-line industries such as steel and autos had work rules that made them less competitive than those plants which operate without unions.

The governor maintains that the restrictions on the state budget ensconced in TABOR would limit the amount the state could meet in future union pay demands. But there’s always the possibility that other state functions would have to be cut to meet such demands in the future. Since this executive order is not writ in stone like legislation passed by the General Assembly, there could be an evolution toward demands for higher pay, even though Colorado’s state employees are already among the highest paid in the nation.

Besides, any government worker protected by Civil Service should not need a union as well. It simply creates another layer of difficulty when it comes to firing an unproductive or disruptive employee.

We wish Gov. Ritter had simply ordered every member of his Cabinet to open lines of communications with their employees and order those supervisors under them to do the same. Now, by issuing this executive order, the governor has invited the law of unintended consequences into the room.
To summarize, the Chieftain, like others, sees Ritter's order as unnecessary, counterproductive, and harmful. Might it not be time for a mea culpa from the governor?

Cross posted at Mount Virtus

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