Now That He’s Won, Reid’s Paying Back Unions

by Warner Todd Huston | November 30, 2010 12:34 pm

Harry Reid survived his brush with electoral death winning yet another term as Nevada’s Senator. Reid knows what side of his bread is buttered, too. Big Labor gave him millions in campaign donations and Reid knows who he owes — or rather who owns him. Now that he’s fairly won he’s promising his patrons in Big Labor that he intends to push one of their favorite laws.

Reid has said that one of his first priorities will be to push a cloture vote on the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act (H.R.413[1]) that he ramrodded earlier this year[2].

This act is focused on the unionization of the nation’s police, firemen and other first responders. It would replace with federal rules all state laws on collective bargaining between state and local governments and their first responder unions and would greatly empower unions to dictate pay scales and benefits on a national level.

This would destroy the ability for local governments to affect their own police and firemen by taking away from local officials and voters any ability to make rules and regulations to control local first responders.

Imagine the loss of control that local governments will face when first responder unions no longer have to deal with local rules and laws but can force a federal one-size-fits-all style rule on those local governments. Local governments will no longer be able to determine pay scales and benefits and will lose control of their own ability to budget. Reid’s plan will also completely remove the ability of voters to have any say in local matters as a top down control from Washington will rule the day where it concerns local police, fire and other first responders.

Also remember, if a local government wants to fire a policeman or fireman they now have to deal with local laws and home-based unions. If H.R.413 passes no local government will be able to fire a cop or fireman without appealing to the federal government, a source far, far removed from the local area and a source completely unfamiliar with the needs and interests of that local area.

Unfortunately, there is a large contingent of Republicans supporting this nanny state, big government take over. Many think that what they are doing is leveling the playing field for all first responders and setting rules that can govern them equally. In this age of terrorism when our first responders are so important it almost makes sense. After all, wouldn’t it be smart to have our first responders treated regularly across the nation so that we can rely on them for their services?

It almost makes sense. That is until you think about it harder.

In truth this law will wildly inflate the costs of our police and fire protection to state and local governments. With a nationalized set of rules the high costs of large governments will be visited on the smallest, first responders will no longer be under any local control at all, union bosses will gain outsized powers to control local government budgets and costs will soar as a result. And who can’t imagine this is the first step on the road to a national fire department, a national police force or other such bloated country-wide force controlled by politicians in Washington D.C. And imagine the soaring costs of court cases as these union disputes become federal cases in every instance.

H.R.413 also outrageously violates the most basic tenet of American politics: local control. This is the worst example of statism, one that must be defeated.

Conservatives need to tell their Representatives to drop their co-sponsorship of this un-American attempt to nationalize our police and fire departments. After all, Big Labor is keen to force this bill through Congress this session. If Big Labor is hot on this one, how can any Republican in good conscience support this thing?

Republican Co-Sponsors

Democrat Co-Sponsors

Endnotes:
  1. H.R.413: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h413/show
  2. he ramrodded earlier this year: http://www.publiusforum.com/2010/06/02/harry-reids-push-to-nationalize-all-copfiremen-unions/

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