MACo Opposes Local Collective Bargaining Mandate

Robin Clark, MACo Research Director, testified in opposition of HB 736, Labor and Employment – Employment Rights for Local Government Employees – Establishment, to the House Appropriations Committee on February 23, 2016.

This bill would require all counties to enact local laws authorizing collective bargaining between the county and any employee organization that the county has recognized as an exclusive representative of its employees.

From the MACo testimony,

This law requires an expansion of collective bargaining that would require all counties to extend the right to collectively bargain to all of their employees – except for supervisory, managerial, or confidential employees, and elected or appointed officials. This is a one-size-fits-all design that would expand collective bargaining rights in a third of Maryland’s counties.

Requiring even Maryland’s smallest county governments and any municipal governments in Maryland that have more than 20 employees to authorize collective bargaining to almost all of their employees will create a new administrative burden, and could also create additional personnel costs. The low threshold and broad application of HB 736 puts pressure on some of the state’s smallest jurisdictions which may be least able to accommodate additional administration and costs.

Despite their differences, Maryland county governments all have one thing in common. Their goal is to provide for the health, safety, and wellbeing of their citizens, and that of future generations.

Allowing some reasonable flexibility in local governance can support counties as they strive to reach this common goal. For this reasons, MACo requests an UNFAVORABLE report on HB 736.

For more on 2016 MACo legislation, visit the Legislative Database.