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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: April 16, 2013 09:01 AM
From: Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Promoting Fairness and Taxpayer Protection in Collective Bargaining
According to recent news reports, more than 5.2 million Pennsylvanians — 41 percent of the state’s 12.6 million residents — live in a city, township or borough that is facing some form of financial distress. Joint hearings held last session on this issue provided a clear picture on the factors contributing to communities in distress or teetering on the edge. The recurring themes at the hearings involved strengthening Act 47, addressing legacy costs, improving the tax base, and reforming collective bargaining. Last October, the report of the SR323 Task Force on Mandate Relief, also corroborated that the collective bargaining process was one of the two most burdensome mandates on local governments, both in perception and median cost.

As a result, I will be introducing legislation to reform the Policemen and Firemen Collective Bargaining Act, commonly known as Act 111, to provide fairness, transparency, and taxpayer protections. Originally, passed in 1968, the provisions of this law have remained unchanged for almost half a century. In the interim, arbitrations have resulted in the creation of new benefits and legacy cost mandates that did not exist in statute, and in many cases compensation awards based on wages in other areas rather than on municipality specific circumstances.

Among other things, my legislation would inject fairness into the process by requiring costs of arbitration to be split evenly by the parties, and by balancing the influence of the arbitration board. The bill would also open arbitration proceedings to the public, and require decisions of arbitrators to be based on relevant factors which are explained in writings available for public inspection.

Introduced as SB1111