There I was, eating my lunch at the Haggen Market (and if my wife is reading this, it was something healthy, I promise,) when who do I see sitting two tables away? County Executive candidate Doug Ericksen, and fellow Republican, (and former County Councilmember,) Ward Nelson. I usually don't make it my practice to eavesdrop, but from where I was sitting I could easily hear them, so I set down my paper and listened for a little bit. Ward Nelson was explaining various details of county governance to Doug Ericksen, who asked questions and took notes. What made my ears perk up was the bit about collective bargaining rights.
Frequent readers of my blog will remember that the concerns of labor are near and dear to my heart. Why? Because I work for a living, that's why. Here's an earlier post about the media blackout surrounding the recent international labor rally, and here is the subsequent report from that rally. So when Doug Ericksen mentions the right of workers to sit at the negotiating table, I listen. What does he say?
"Look, collective bargaining is fine, but we need to get serious about this, and if we can cut them (the unions) out of the process, it makes this whole thing a lot easier." - Doug Ericksen.
From there, he and Ward Nelson proceeded to discuss, in detail, which departments, County employees, and so on could be outsourced to get unions out of the way. Department of Health employees, a brief mention of EMS, a whole list developed. I guess this is what Doug meant when on his website he said, "Implement a county-wide Priorities of Government program to identify what we should be doing, and fund those things within current resources." And, "utilize private sector technology services."
Looking for alternatives is always worth it, if your goal is delivering the best service possible to our county. But if your goal is to eliminate the working man's seat at the table, then you have serious explaining to do.