Bill adds sunshine to labor disputes

Bill adds sunshine to labor disputes by Jaimi Reimer Department of Labor recommendations for the settlement of labor disputes may soon require a reason for the decision reached under a bill passed Feb. 8 by the Senate.

The Senate passed, 27-7, SB 153 which revises certain provisions related to recommendations for the settlement

of labor disputes.

�The bill adds sunshine and documentation to the fact finding process,� said Sen. Barbara Everist, R-Sioux Falls.

If passed into law, the bill would require a written summary along with the recommendation. The rationale and the recommendation would be published, along with the date scheduled for a public meeting where action on the recommendation would be taken, said Everist.

�Current fact finding measures aren�t sufficient,� said Sen. David Munson, R-Sioux Falls.

Presently, parties don�t have the benefit of knowing what the fact finders were thinking, said Bob Stevens, South Dakota Education Association.

�If they had the benefit of knowing the reasoning behind the recommendation, it may bring the two parties closer together,� he said.

Paul Elward of the South Dakota Federation of State, County and Local Employees agrees.

�The process is not working the way the legislature intended,� he said. "We end up adversarial and both parties have bad feelings. With a third party rationale, maybe both sides could see where they were wrong.�

The Department of Labor opposed the bill, saying it is difficult to craft rules to apply to all public employees.

The bill was introduced by Sens. Munson, Don Brosz, R-Watertown, Rebecca Dunn, D-Sioux Falls, Everist, Frank Kloucek, D-Scotland, Garry Moore, D-Yankton, Mel Olson, D-Mitchell, John Reedy, D-Vermillion, and Paul Symens, D-Amherst and Reps. Clarence Kooistra, R-Garretson, Roger Brooks, R-Brandon, Kevin Crisp, R-Dell Rapids, Deb Fischer-Clemens, D-Mitchell, Pat Haley, D-Huron, Gil Koetzle, D-Sioux Falls, Larry Lucas, D-Mission, John McIntyre, D-Sioux Falls and Robert Roe, R-Brookings. SB 153 now moves to the House for action.

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