A Voice, Not A Veto

As the battle over collective bargaining in Massachusetts moves to the state Senate, all of the major players seem to agree on one thing: labor unions should have “a voice” in determination of municipal employee health benefits.  The Governor has used the term consistently.  So has Senate President Murray.  So have union honchos Robert Haynes and Ed Kelly, both of whom have claimed rather stridently over the past 36 hours that the House budget provision causing all the stir will “silence” the workers’ “voice.”

The State House News Service tried today to gauge the posture of various influential Senators.  Most – including the Senate President – claimed they have not yet read the House language.  That’s more than a little bit difficult to believe, but one can hardly blame them for their desire to have a few days to digest the issue before Haynes, Kelly & Co. commence screaming in their faces.  One thing they all seem to agree on, though, is the “voice” thing.  Here are a few excerpts from the SHNS coverage:

Amid the uncertainty, two points of agreement between proponents and opponents of the House proposal appear to have taken shape: Labor unions should continue to have “a voice” in determining their health care costs, and the Legislature should help cities and towns find a way to save tens of millions of dollars on their health care bills. It’s the critical details that are still fuzzy…

Sen. Katherine Clark, a Melrose Democrat and the co-chair of the Committee on Public Service, said senators were reviewing the House proposal…

“I have a serious concern about making sure we giving retirees a voice,” she said, Sen. Thomas McGee said he was unaware of the specifics of the House proposal but said he hoped that whatever the outcome of the debate, municipal workers should have “a voice in the process” of setting their health care co-pays and deductibles.

Get it?  Everybody wants to make sure labor has “a voice.”  And that’s a good thing, because it just so happens that the House proposal gives them a voice.  Here’s how… READ THE REST at CriticalMASS

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