In what I hope will prove to be a new trend for all state and local governments, Ohio Asks For Across The Board Union Pay Cuts.

The state has asked workers in its largest labor union to accept a 5 percent across-the-board pay cut, a shorter work week and unpaid holidays to help balance the state’s troubled budget, according to a document obtained by The Plain Dealer.

The list of cuts and changes Gov. Ted Strickland’s administration has asked the workers to accept, which also includes mandatory furloughs and paying more for their health insurance, would amount to $250 million in concessions, according to a members-only e-mail from Ohio Civil Service Employees Association president Eddie L. Parks.

Parks said “the union has also been told that even if concessions are made, there will be no guarantee that layoffs won’t happen.”

OCSEA is the state’s largest labor union with about 35,000 of the state’s 60,000 workers. Many of the union’s employees work for the prison system and Department of Transportation.

Among other items the state asked the union to accept: a 35-hour work week, a 75/25 split in health care payments, and eliminating current contractual rules that prevent a union member’s work schedule from being changed to avoid overtime.

A better idea would be to fire them all and privatize everything. Of course drug laws should be revised first and anyone in for minor drug violations should simply be released. That would eliminate the need for many of the jobs right off the top.

I am going to face the wrath of unions for those statements but it is no longer possible to pay union salaries and pension benefits balanced on the back of taxpayers. Government wages, benefits, and pensions, simply must be brought in line with that of the private sector. There is no other way out.

Something has to give, so something will give. It’s as simple as that. I am pleased to see Strickland face at least some sense of reality.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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