KELSO, Washington — A Cowlitz County commissioner has cancelled a proposed hearing about opening union negotiating sessions up to the public.
The county negotiates collective bargaining agreements with nine labor unions, and those talks customarily take place in private session. Last month, Commissioner Arne Mortensen invited the anti-union Freedom Foundation to make a case to the county commission on Sept. 26 in favor of a resolution to open negotiations to the public. But after union members and community supporters demanded equal time to counter the group, Mortensen decided to cancel the Sept. 26 meeting, citing an urgent need to work on the county budget as justification.
“This should have never been scheduled in the first place,” said Shawn Nyman, president of the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Central Labor Council in an official statement. “There is absolutely no reason to set our local family wage earners up for attack by this anti-labor group invited by the commissioner.”