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Public Workers Part Of Right To Work Bill

Wed., March 8, 1995

FOR THE RECORD CORRECTION: Yes and no votes were switched in Wednesday’s story about legislation to extend Idaho’s right to work law to public employees. Reps. June Judd, D-St. Maries, Marv Vandenberg, D-Coeur d’Alene, and Jim Stoicheff, D-Sandpoint, voted no, Reps. Jeff Alltus, R-Coeur d’Alene, and Tom Dorr, R-Post Falls, voted yes. Correction published on March 8, 1995.

A bill that would include public employees in the state’s right to work law cleared a House committee on a 13-7 vote Tuesday, though lawmakers still disagree on its impact.

Proposed by Sen. Rod Beck, R-Boise, as part of a package of bills targeting the Boise teachers union, the bill passed the Senate last week. It now heads to the full House for a vote.

The House State Affairs Committee heard testimony Tuesday that Beck’s bill would cause problems statewide.

Rep. Jim Stoicheff, D-Sandpoint, said current teacher union practices already comply with the right to work law, since teachers don’t have to join a union. He’s worried the bill will unintentionally give teachers and other public employee unions the formal right to strike.

Bill proponents said when Idaho voters approved the right to work law in 1986, they never intended to exclude public employees. The law says union membership cannot be a requirement for employment.

Rep. Jeff Alltus, R-Coeur d’Alene, said including public as well as private employees is only fair.

North Idaho lawmakers on the committee voting for the bill were Reps. June Judd, D-St. Maries; Marv Vandenberg, D-Coeur d’Alene; and Stoicheff. Voting against were Reps. Alltus and Tom Dorr, R-Post Falls.

A similar bill was purposed in 1990, but was vetoed by then Gov. Cecil Andrus.

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