Lehigh County commissioners are getting the silent treatment during labor contract negotiations, and they aren’t happy about it.
Reportedly, the current county executive, Tom Muller, refused leadership meetings with the commissioners chairman and vice-chairman, keeping silent on the progress of labor negotiations. How is this possible? In 1984, Lehigh County commissioners passed an ordinance directing the county executive to negotiate with county employee unions. Now, the comissioners are moving to take back responsibility for negotiation and bring more transparency to the process.
Traditionally union negotiations throughout the state are anything but transparent. Taxpayers are left in the dark until a labor contract is approved.
At the state level, Gov. Tom Wolf will soon be negotiating with government union leaders over 16 expiring (or expired) contracts. These contracts cover almost 45,000 employees, with a total compensation of $3.37 billion. Given the enormous impact of these contracts on state spending and taxes, Gov. Wolf should fulfill his promise to give Pennsylvania a fresh start and ensure that these negotiations are as open and transparent as possible.
From Lehigh County to all of Pennsylvania, voters and taxpayers should have the opportunity to see contracts at every level of government before they are responsible for fulfilling them.