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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: March 4, 2015 02:44 PM
From: Senator Ryan P. Aument
To: All Senate members
Subject: Transparency in Collective Bargaining
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to amend the Pennsylvania Sunshine Law to require public access to meetings where public sector collective bargaining agreements are negotiated.

As a legislator who firmly believes that secrecy breeds distrust and transparency is the cornerstone of good government, I believe taxpayers deserve to at least have the opportunity to be present when elected officials negotiate a collective bargaining agreement that will be paid for with their tax dollars. When we consider that many of these negotiations result in an increase in taxes, it is a wonder why these meetings were ever excluded from the Sunshine Law.

Contract negotiations significantly impact the size and expense of government and the services that constituents receive. Unsurprisingly, secret negotiations bring a cloud of doubt and can lead to abuse. I believe open meetings will not only make public officials more accountable to the citizens they represent but also make union representatives more accountable to their members.

This legislation would bring openness and transparency to state and local decision making by requiring public notice and access to any meeting where a public sector collective bargaining agreement is negotiated. Currently, ten states require full or limited access to collective bargaining sessions of public employees.

If you have any questions, please contact Stephanie Buchanan at 717-787-6709 or sbuchanan@pasen.gov.

Introduced as SB643