Letter to the Editor

Rename committee

Monday, February 14, 2011

Dear Editor,

The Nebraska Business and Labor Committee at the Unicameral should be renamed the LABOR AND UNION COMMITTEE.

We went to the CIR hearings Monday at the State Capitol to testify as a proponent of Sen. John Nelson's bills on behalf of the Tea Party Patriots to repeal the CIR. There were 9 bills being testified on. Those for reform testified first, those opposed last. The room was filled with union interest and light on public interest.

The committee leader Steve Lathrop ignored the 3 minute rule for proponents allowing testimony for up to 10 minutes at times. He lavished excessive flattery on working group members of his shell bill LB 397 and other reform bills. He was rude to Lincoln city council members and repeatedly blamed local governments for excessive compensation packages negotiated. His bias for CIR was evident as with most the committee board members.

When it came to opponent testimony, the environment became hostile. There was excessive leading of testifiers to support Senator Lothrop's agenda to reform CIR and change their minds. 3 minute time limits became law and wrapping up arguments denied opponents. After close to 8 hours of testimony, committee members started falling out and a quorum was lacking. A fetching of board members was needed to continue, the room became sparse.

In the end it was clear, repeal would never see the light of day and Senator Lathrop promised his way would be meaningful reform.

I find it interesting that with $7 billon of unfunded public pension plans in Nebraska it could all be the local governments' failures at negotiations with labor or that collective bargaining is a sound financial working plan for public worker compensation. It's everything else except the CIR threat of union power over the local municipalities' heads.

Nebraska has joined ranks with the federal governments' progressive socialist agendas. Taxpayers beware! The public sector wants all your money in Nebraska too! I guess until the roof collapses and all the money runs out, change is not possible for Nebraskans. There is no hope for real financial reform. People will continue to show up on behalf of their pay check, union power and campaign contribution, but not on behalf of the taxpayer who pays and employs them. So, we shall all perish together in insolvency.

Jerie Quinty

McCook, Nebraska

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