Pa. committee votes to open public employee contract talks

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Collective bargaining negotiations involving public employee unions would be open to the public under legislation headed to the state Senate.

The Senate State Government Committee approved Senate Bill 643 on Wednesday.

The legislation would amend Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Law to require public notice and access to any meeting where a public sector collective bargaining agreement is negotiated.

Senator Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster), the bill’s sponsor, said the requirement would apply to contract talks at the local and state level, including upcoming negotiations between Governor Tom Wolf and public employee unions.

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

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

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