According to the MarylandReporter today, SB 590, Fairness in Negotiation Act, is “gaining speed in both the House and Senate.” MACo adheres to a philosophical opposition to binding arbitration and comparable processes. Delegating final decision-making regarding public employee management to arbitrators who are not accountable to citizens represents poor public policy. Read more from the MarylandReporter article:
Teachers would be able to take labor disputes beyond the respective boards of education that control their salaries, under a controversial bill gaining speed in both the House and Senate.
Even opponents to the bill, which would create a neutral third party to handle disputed negotiations for teachers statewide, call the measure “greased lightening.” Foes argue that the bill will take spending authority away from local decision makers, though there is a provision that allows counties not to fund pay hikes.
On Friday, the bill blew past Senate amendment speed bumps that threatened to curb it.
Lead sponsor Sen. Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery, and Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Thomas Middleton, D-Charles, agreed the current system of allowing arbitration to be handled by county officials and the Maryland State Board of Education doesn’t make sense.
“If you were a teacher and every step of the way you were mediated by the people making the decisions, how is that fair?” Middleton asked.
According to testimony heard during a Finance Committee hearing March 4, out of 19 instances when cases were referred to the state, 15 were decided in favor of the local boards of education.