On February 4, I noted that Ohio state senator Shannon Jones submitted a bill that would Kill Collective Bargaining for State Employees.
Governor John Kasich has supported this move so unless Democrats can find a procedural way to block passage, Ohio is going to see some much needed changes.
More details emerged today, including a protest by nurses, prison guards, firefighters, and other beneficiaries of the unjust existing collective bargaining setup.
The fight over changes to Ohio’s collective bargaining law escalated Wednesday with the introduction of a Republican proposal that labor groups say is a direct attack on public-sector workers across the state.
Hundreds of those workers, including nurses, firefighters and prison guards, packed the statehouse in protest as Ohio Sen. Shannon Jones, a Republican from Springboro, described details of her plan for the first time.
Collective bargaining would be eliminated for state workers and reformed for employees of local governments under the proposal, which also includes changes to teachers’ contracts and benefits, bargaining timelines, layoff procedures and binding arbitration rules for police and firefighters.
Jones testified to the Senate panel that changes to the law are needed to help local governments deliver necessary services to taxpayers while dealing with declining revenues. The plan is not a political attack on unions, she said.
The 476-page bill outlines numerous changes to the state’s collective bargaining law, including:
- State workers’ salary schedules and step increases would be eliminated, and pay would be based on merit.
- Public employers in a deadlock with safety forces would have the option to extend the last collective bargaining agreement for one year rather than go into binding arbitration.
- Length of service could not be the only factor in layoffs. Efficiency and quality of performance also could be considered.
- Public employees would be required to pay at least 20 percent of their health care premium.
Fiscal Move Not a Political Move
This is a direct (and much needed) attack on public unions, but it is not political per se. The bill is about delivering services to taxpayers at a lower cost.
Thus, Shannon Jones’ statement “The plan is not a political attack on unions” is factual.
“This bill will likely lead to lower wages and benefits for police officers, firefighters and other public employees who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe,” Sen. Joe Schiavoni, of Canfield, said.
Hopefully, in the next election, voters kick state senator Joe Schiavoni out on his ass where he belongs. Wages and benefits of police and firefighters are bankrupting city after city. It’s high time those wages and benefits come under review.
Unfortunately, there is a big loophole in the bill “Public employers in a deadlock with safety forces would have the option to extend the last collective bargaining agreement for one year rather than go into binding arbitration. “
Binding arbitration heavily favors unions. It needs to go, across the board, but especially for police and firefighters. If they think they can get better wages in the private sector, let them try.
Phone Your Senators
The email Craig passed along directs members to an AFSCME e-Action Network that will forward you to to your state senator after a brief bit of pro-union propaganda.
To call in, you will need to know your senator’s name. Here is an Interactive Map of Ohio Senate Districts that will help find the name if you do not know it.
After you determine your senator’s name, please click on the above AFSCME link, enter your phone number, and you will get a callback in 10 seconds. Disregard the propaganda and request your senator to vote Yes on Senate Bill 5.
Tell your senator that collective bargaining drives up costs and it is time for merit pay. While you are at it, ask for a bill that will stop union dues from being used for political purposes.
Also ask your senator to amend the bill to kill binding arbitration as well! Please emphasize that point. That you want even stronger measures including elimination of binding arbitration.
It is a scam in and of itself that public unions can waste taxpayer dollars with organized call-in processes like these. It shows you just what you are up against. However, as long as the procedure is out there, it makes sense to voice your opinion too.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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