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Legislation could allow more state workers to bargain for wages

Delaware Public Media

More state workers could negotiate for wages under legislation introduced in a Senate committee earlier this week.

Legislation sponsored by State Sen. Jack Walsh would allow some employees who can’t bargain for wages now, to do so. It also makes bargaining units based more on the group of employees than by job title.

Delaware Fraternal Order of Police President Fred Calhoun said the current bargaining process is unfair to state employees because negotiations for benefits and wages can’t be done at the same time.

“In one set of bargaining, they’ll say ‘We can’t talk about that,'" he said. "I’ll go to other side where they told me over here I should be able to negotiate it, they say ‘Nah, we can’t talk about that.' That’s actually taken place in our negotiations.”

A draft fiscal note estimates it will cost about $452,600 to implement the legislation. That includes additional positions in the Delaware Department of Labor and in Human Resources. But the fiscal note is likely to change because HR may need even more people.

A spokesman with the Delaware Office of Management and Office said the administration is concerned about the cost to implement it.

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