Gaming neutral mediation

 A neutral mediation law such as AB 506, which hasn’t even finished its first outing in Stockton, isn’t good enough for labor, or even for the law’s author: they’re going back to the drawing board.

Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, and unions are pushing Assembly Bill 1692. The bill abolishes the ”neutral evaluation” of a city’s debt crisis to “alternative dispute resolution.” As Capitol Alert says here, the law would “grant the mediator in the process more power.”

Wieckowski tried to game the system with AB506, but the pro-labor bias in the law was removed in committee. Mediation benefits labor. Mediators are deal-makers. They tend to give each side something. If labor wants a big raise, and a city says it can afford no raise, a mediator may give labor a modest raise.

Labor, which has played a big role in pushing numerous California cities to the brink of bankruptcy, wants to make it harder for cities to go bankrupt. I’ve spoken with Wieckowski. He’s a nice guy. But this bill deserves to die.

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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