As rank and file members of state employee unions consider proposed contract settlements, the jury is out on whether the process reflects political credit or debit for Governor John Kitzhaber.
The public employee collective bargaining process was one of the early tests of the strength of the governor's administration near the start of his third term in office. He campaigned, at least in part, on his ability to deal with public employee unions during collective bargaining negotiations. But critics of public employee collective bargaining contend that, when a Democrat governor's representatives sit across the table from union negotiators, it is like two friends deciding how to spend someone else's money.
It is not clear whether the rank-and-file will support the tentative agreements reached by their negotiators. According to The Oregonian and the Statesman-Journal, some members don't like the agreement and are urging other workers to reject it. Beyond normal reporting, how do the newspapers know?