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Senate Bill 1120 — Peace officers, collective bargains

Senate Bill 1120 — Peace officers, collective bargains

Parrish Miller
February 24, 2021

Bill Description: Senate Bill 1120 would establish the right of law enforcement employees to engage in collective bargaining.

Rating: -5

Does it increase barriers to entry into the market? Examples include occupational licensure, the minimum wage, and restrictions on home businesses. Conversely, does it remove barriers to entry into the market?

Senate Bill 1120 creates Chapter 28, Title 44, Idaho Code, titled "Collective Bargaining Rights of Peace Officers."

This bill says, "Peace officers employed by a public employer shall have the right to bargain collectively with their respective public employers, or to refrain therefrom, and to be represented by a bargaining agent in such collective bargaining process as to wages, rates of pay, working conditions, and all other terms and conditions of employment."

The bill, enacted into law, would force all peace officers of a public employer to be represented by a collective bargaining organization approved by a simple majority of the officers. It does not give the minority the ability to opt out or choose to be represented by a different organization.

The bill says, "An organization selected by the majority of peace officers of a public employer shall be recognized as the sole and exclusive bargaining agent for all of the peace officers of such public employer, unless and until recognition of such bargaining agent is withdrawn by vote of the majority of the peace officers of such public employer."

No one should ever be forced into a collective bargaining arrangement.


Does it directly or indirectly create or increase any taxes, fees, or other assessments? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce any taxes, fees, or other assessments?

The purpose of collective bargaining is to increase salaries, benefits, hiring, and create various programs — all at the expense of taxpayers. Senate Bill 1120 creates a system whereby thousands of individuals in one profession will be given enhanced abilities to increase their pay, a burden which hundreds of thousands of taxpayers must shoulder.


Does it increase government redistribution of wealth? Examples include the use of tax policy or other incentives to reward specific interest groups, businesses, politicians, or government employees with special favors or perks; transfer payments; and hiring additional government employees. Conversely, does it decrease government redistribution of wealth?

All individuals who seek employment in the state of Idaho have the right to negotiate their salary and benefits. Among other options, they are free to decline employment or quit their job should an employer's offerings prove insufficient. This is true for both the public and the private sector.

Senate Bill 1120 creates a special benefit for members of one profession, however, allowing them increased leverage when compared to other employees in Idaho.


Senate Bill 1120 also creates a special benefit for the state police and various county and local law enforcement agencies. By allowing their employees to engage in collective bargaining and to negotiate increases in salaries, benefits, hiring, and various programs, the bill allows these government entities to agree to these terms, enlarge their budgets accordingly, and then tell taxpayers the increases are unavoidable.

While public sector unions are often portrayed as being at odds with their employers, this apparent conflict is largely for show. Government agencies want to grow, and union negotiations provide them with a ready excuse when it comes time to request more taxpayer dollars.


Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?

Public sector unions invariably end up costing taxpayers additional money. This isn't just because collective bargaining can result in higher wages and increased benefits, but because union membership often results in public employees spending taxpayer-subsidized work hours on union business. Given that public sector unions put the interests of expanding the headcount and pay of their members first, they have an inherent conflict of interest with the public they serve.

While specific numbers for Idaho are lacking, a U.S. Office of Personnel Management report for fiscal year 2016 found that federal employees spent more than 3.6 million work hours on union business.

The timeline created by Senate Bill 1120 allows for a prolonged process for collective bargaining, including up to 10 days to convene an initial meeting following a written request, 30 days for the first round of negotiations, 5 days to select the first two members of a fact-finding commission, 10 days to select a third member, and no clear limitation on how long the commission may take to schedule a hearing or how long the hearing may last. After the commission renders its recommendations (following a hearing), another 30-day period begins for subsequent negotiations. It is unclear what happens if no agreement is reached by the end of this period.


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