Senate bill would give collective bargaining rights to public labor unions

The state Senate passed a pair of labor bills on Tuesday that supporters say will bolster collective bargaining rights for public workers and improve access to apprenticeships for private employees.

“Empowering unions is the easiest and most efficient way to empower Delaware workers,” said prime sponsor Sen. Jack Walsh, D-Stanton. “With these two bills, we are doing two important things: leveling the playing field for public sector unions and expanding access to apprenticeships. Ultimately, these are minor changes overall but they can make big differences for public sector and entry level trade workers.”

Senate Substitue 1 for Senate Bill 8, which passed the Senate by a vote of 20-1 on Tuesday, would bring public employee labor organizations in line with other unions and professional associations by allowing them to collectively bargain for compensation. All changes in compensation would still require approval from the General Assembly.

Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 48 tackles training for workers employed by contractors and subcontractors while working on public projects. The provisions in the bill require that bidders for public works contracts above a minimum value include approved training programs for journeyman and apprentice levels. Federal highway projects would be excluded from the requirement.

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