Politics & Government
10:17 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Legislation would allow petition campaigns to cap public employee benefits

There’s legislation pending in Lansing that would allow voters to amend local charters to cap public employee compensation and benefits.

Courts have held that local initiatives don’t trump collective bargaining rights.

Former state Representative Leon Drolet heads the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance. He says the legislation is an effort to get around that, to let voters run ballot drives and amend city charters.

“There would still be a collective bargaining process,” Drolet explained. “They would still set benefit levels, but there would be a cap on what the city could agree to, and what could be part of that negotiating process. Right now, there’s no cap.”

Drolet says his group is ready to launch ballot drives in several cities if the bill becomes law.

Unions say it’s not necessary.

They say voters already hold their elected officials responsible, and they say this could make it harder to bargain deferred compensation agreements that save local governments money when times are lean.