Doing its duty in support of the Left-liberal Colorado coalition, the Bell Policy Center released a report today that expends a lot of megabytes (and ink?) to say almost nothing relevant. The Rocky Mountain News first picked up on the story:
Labor-management partnerships such as the one Gov. Bill Ritter ordered for state government are positive on balance, according to a report by the Bell Policy Center â€” a group that consulted with Ritter’s staff as he launched his partnership plan.
However, such agreements mostly have been used to turn around adversarial labor-management relations in already unionized workplaces with collective bargaining, the report points out. [emphasis added]
The report presents zero evidence of so-called “partnerships” producing the alleged positive effects in a workplace (much less a state government – because it’s never happened before) where no previous union representation existed. Yet the authors conclude:
If done right, the evidence seems clear that labor management partnerships represent a positive approach that can improve government operations and save money.
A careful read of the report indicates that “partnerships” – at least in the cases where positive impacts can be demonstrated – mostly save money from averting the costs of strikes and other outcomes of hostile labor-management relations. But that only applies to places where adversarial collective bargaining already exists. In all the cases cited in the report, “partnerships” are a halfway measure away from adversarial bargaining. It seems to be a source of relief for public and private employers who had already gone too far down the unionization path.
That just isn’t the case here with state government in Colorado. The report’s analysis and conclusion essentially don’t fit the situation it is purported to defend. It’s a nice attempt by the Bell Policy Center to provide some sort of cover for Gov. Ritter on his unionization executive order. But all their effort has created nothing more than a published “so what?”
More than anything, the report seems to confirm the very valid criticism that Ritter’s order was a solution in search of a problem. Well, Big Labor’s problem, anyway, and its desire to be repaid in political favors.