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Unintended Consequences and Binding Arbitration

By  Allen Wildermuth



I once heard a story how the Chinese government, to protect their citizen’s food crops, paid to have crop eating birds killed. The next year, with fewer birds around, insects nearly wiped out the nations crops.  The Chinese wanted to protect the citizens from hunger, but the unintended consequence was exactly the opposite.

Now fast forward to 1969 in Vallejo.  The Public Safety unions go on strike leaving a scared citizenry without protective services.  The City Council, like the Chinese, wanting to protect the citizens put Binding Arbitration into the City Charter.  And, just like the Chinese, found that even the best intentions can have unintended consequences.  Now the unions use Binding Arbitration against the city government, and the citizens of Vallejo right where it hurts the most, in their pocketbooks.


When the unions do not like the proposals by the city (whether we can afford them or not), the union negotiators cry foul, and send it off to Binding Arbitration (because it is in the charter, the City is helpless), secure in the knowledge that most Arbitration decisions go against the city, and in favor of the unions.  We all remember the most recent time Arbitration was used.  The City lost, and Vallejo taxpayers lost $4 million.


Some will argue, correctly so, that Binding Arbitration isn’t used very often.  It does not have to be used.  Just the threat of Binding Arbitration brings the city negotiators and the City Council to their knees, and they give in to union demands without a fight.  Remember, what they give away does not belong to the city, it belongs to the taxpayers of Vallejo.  It is your money being wagered in a giant game of chicken, and guess what sports fans.  You Lose.


I urge every voter in Vallejo to sign the petitions being circulated to remove Binding Arbitration from the City Charter.  You find signature gatherers at grocery stores, the ferry building, the Saturday Market, and if you can’t find them there, go to where you can download, print, sign and return your own petition.


The proponents of this initiative are Vallejo citizens, just like you, that have said enough is enough.  We have to get this albatross off our necks and out of your pocketbooks so Vallejo will have a chance to survive and prosper once we emerge from Bankruptcy.


Allen Wildermuth


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