Committee Approves Collective Bargaining Transparency Bill

HARRISBURG – The Senate State Government Committee approved a bill today that would add transparency to negotiations between public sector unions and state and local governments, according to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Ryan P. Aument (R-36).

Senate Bill 643 would amend the Pennsylvania Sunshine Law to require public notice and access to any meeting where a public sector collective bargaining agreement is negotiated. The requirement would apply to collective bargaining agreement negotiations at the local and state level, including upcoming negotiations between Governor Wolf and public employee unions.

If approved by the legislature and signed into law, Pennsylvania would become the 11th state to require full or limited access to collective bargaining sessions involving public employees.

“The lack of transparency in collective bargaining negotiations effectively silences the taxpayers who will be responsible for footing the bill,” Aument said. “Opening these negotiations to the public will help make elected officials and union representatives more responsive and accountable to those they serve.”

Aument supported similar legislation in relation to school district contract negotiations as a member of the House of Representatives in January 2014.

“Government transparency should never be a partisan issue, and opening these negotiations to public review and scrutiny will only result in a more equitable agreement for all stakeholders,” Aument said.

The bill was sent to the full Senate for consideration.

CONTACT: Stephanie Buchanan (717) 787-4420