Ohio Long Overdue on Debating Public Sector Collective Bargaining Rights

Kudos to Senator Shannon Jones for starting the debate on public sector collective bargaining rights. We hope the Republicans have the same resolve in repealing collective bargaining as the Democrats did in 1983 when they jammed it through to satisfy their now largest contributors. For once, I agree with President Franklin D. Roosevelt who also opposed giving government workers such rights. Government offices/classrooms/stations are not coal mines, sweatshops, or farm fields circa 1910, and the very people who want more government are the same ones who then claim that that government will mistreat its workers without the union to protect them.

As the Columbus Dispatch reported, here are some of the key measures Senator Jones is looking to address:

“Proposals in the bill:
State workers

Eliminates collective bargaining for state workers, including higher education employees.
Requires the Department of Administrative Services to develop a merit-based system of pay.
Local workers

Removes the requirement that deadlocked safety forces go to binding arbitration, instead extending the prior union contract for one year.
Requires mediators to consider wages of employees who are not members of the union and does not allow them to consider future tax increases as part of an entity’s ability to pay.
Allows employers to hire permanent replacement workers during a strike.
Removes health insurance from collective bargaining. Management will pick insurance policies, and employees must cover at least 20 percent of the cost.
No longer requires that once a subject is included in a contract that it becomes a mandatory subject of future bargaining.
Defines an “impasse” as a lack of agreement after 90 days. After that point, it requires each side to make public its last, best offer.
Prohibits public employers from picking up extra employee pension contributions.
Eliminates from state law automatic pay increases for experience and education.
Eliminates from state law leave policies and automatic 15 sick days for teachers.
Prohibits school districts from bargaining away certain management powers, such as the ability to deploy teachers to certain buildings.
No longer makes longevity a deciding factor when management is deciding to make layoffs.
Requires a public employer to publish on its website any changes in the union contract that impacts compensation of workers, including wages, length of service payments, and insurance coverage.
Requires the employer and the State Employment Relations Board to publish the parties’ offers on their websites before and after fact-finding is complete.
Allows schools or local governments in fiscal emergency to terminate or modify a collective bargaining agreement.”
If collective bargaining is not repealed, taxpayers can expect tax increases, especially at the local level where compensation costs swallow 70 percent or more of revenues. Ending binding arbitration will not bend the cost curve down on compensation costs, as only 14 percent of all contracts since 2000 went to fact-finding and only 2 percent went to binding arbitration.

As always, I love the union’s use of “working people” to include only union members and exclude the millions of “working” Ohioans who get stuck with the cost of collective bargaining.

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11 comments on “Ohio Long Overdue on Debating Public Sector Collective Bargaining Rights

  1. Gerald Waugh on said:

    I will just point out one thing ….. everyone acts as though the State worker pays no taxes ….. is exempt from levy raises ….. WE do pay taxes ….. so when you mention taxes being raised because of our contracts, we have to deal with those raises also. WE pay everything you do and most recently, the last 9 years we have did all of that and more with no raises and more and more being taken from us. So dont buy into the State worker is getting and getting, because lately we have been giving and giving ….

    • Gerald:

      Thanks for the posting. We don’t ever say you don’t pay taxes–income, property, or others. We focus on private sector taxpayers. Nonetheless, point well taken.

      On nine years of giving, you are just plain wrong about that. Based on the state salary data on our website, in 2003, you made $38,554. In 2009, you made (excluding OT) $44,094. That change equates to a 14% increase over 6 years. We’ll get the 2010 data soon and see if you got a raise this past year–and we include step increases and longevity pay as raises. According to ODAS, 45% of state workers got pay increases last year due to step increases and longevity pay despite the salary freeze. So, just as you admonish us, stick to the facts.

      Matt

  2. Gerald Waugh on said:

    As always, I love the union’s use of “working people” to include only union members and exclude the millions of “working” Ohioans who get stuck with the cost of collective bargaining.

    If collective bargaining is not repealed, taxpayers can expect tax increases, especially at the local level where compensation costs swallow 70 percent or more of revenues.

    The 2 above statements are what I referring to ….. you are not ALONE Ohioans …. we pay on all of this also ….. even as a State worker ….. dont be misled. Get the facts ….. Listen to what you should listen to ….. not what they want you to listen to.

  3. Gerald Waugh on said:

    Allows employers to hire permanent replacement workers during a strike

    Another misconception …. WE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO STRIKE….. part of that collective bargaining they hate so much, will not allow us to do so. Just another lie they are telling the public to garner backing. Just think about that … you work for someone who continually takes and takes and takes from you , slams you in the media with lies and yet you cant strike over their abuse due to a contractual agreement with them in a process they want to eliminate, yet still keep some of its contractual wording binding ….

  4. Gerald Waugh on said:

    You are correct Matt …. there is an increase in pay during those years …. that’s because of illness and physical issues I was not at work and thus my pay looks as though I have had a pay increase. If you look back at our contracts negotiated during the years we have not received a pay raise. And in some of those years we did not receive a step increase either. As you see I do not work much overtime … although it is there if I want it. Sometimes 8 hours in a Prison is enough ….. and as far as the remark about tax payers, that is your Politicians whom think they have to tell everyone that the ” tax payers ” shoulder the burden of the Public employees ….. I just want it known, we also pay those taxes …. and sometimes more than the average person. Take our money out of the equation and tell me if you would have to raise taxes or not to cover that lost tax revenue. And yes after 15 years in the Marines and 18 years with the State …. if you need to admonish me, feel free as I have big enough shoulders and a strong enough back to handle it.

  5. First, I thank you for your military service.

    Next, I have little to no interest in admonishing anyone. I want to reform a system that I believe is too generous and we can no longer afford. I don’t blame you or any government worker for getting as much out of that system as it allows–we all do what is in the best interest of ourselves and our families.

    Finally, like you, millions of private sector Ohioans also have compelling personal stories to tell involving military service, illness, and other tragedies. In addition, unlike you, millions have suffered job losses, permanent pay cuts, home foreclosures, and massive losses in their retirement plans. From 2000 to 2010, Ohio lost a net of only 1,600 government jobs as more than 610,000 private sector jobs disappeared. You can shrug those losses off and believe the status quo works just fine. We don’t, and will continue to push for a realignment to reflect Ohio’s current economic realities.

    Thanks also for your willingness to defend the system and post on it. Not matter where you come down on the issue, debate about it is vital. Cheers!

  6. Fed up with the rich people on said:

    Matt you are so clueless do you really think that getting rid of collective bargaining unit going to solve Ohio’s budget crisis. NO. All this is going to due in increase cronyism, increase job loss, increase unsafe working conditions, and increase the money that OHIO will have to pay in unemployment. Guess what taxes are still going to rise and we are still going to be in the same situation. Government officials are always trying to look for a scape goat to blame for their overspending and incompetence. Lives, families, and CITIZENS of Ohio are going to be affected. When you attack public workers who are going to put out your fires, educate your children, make sure the streets are safe, and protect the communities from the criminals behind bars. Do believe the bull that Kaisich is feeding the public. People need to become smarter than that and look at the bigger picture.

  7. I find it interesting that Sen. Jones cannot tell us how much will be saved by this bill. Don’t you think that is a little suspect. In fact Jones in her testimony did not use the state budget crisis as a major reason for this legislation. In fact, Jones did not have a single projection of any cost savings for the short or long-term, but said that she thought there would be savings in the future.

    Also if you check the statistics you will find that those states that do not have collective bargaining are not any better off than those that do.

    From Policy Matters Ohio – for the 2011 fiscal year:
    • 16.5% Budget Deficit in the 9 states banning collective bargaining by all state/local public employees.
    • 16.2% Budget Deficit for 15 states allowing collective bargaining for all public employees.
    • 16.6% Budget Deficit among the 42 states allowing some or all collective bargaining by public employees..
    • 17.6% Budget Deficit for the 31 states that allow only state workers to collectively bargain

  8. Nothing more than an attack on unions. The recent batch of Republicans in Congress is the most anti-labor body of people to come down the pike in a long time.

  9. Jessica Leonard on said:

    The unions are the only ones who benefit from collective bargaining. In 2009 the Ohio Education Association collected $58 million in dues straight from teachers’ paychecks. They paid over $26 million in compensation to 242 employees, on average over $110,000 per employee! That was 46% of their collections. They only paid out 3% in grants ($1.9 million).

    So my question is, who are the unions trying to protect? Most of the money they strong arm from teachers’ paychecks is paid out in salaries and benefits to employees of the union. It does not go back to teachers, not to schools, surely not to our students’ education. With districts failing left and right why are we still supporting failed leadership? The unions are against the legislature limiting their power because it will affect their own pocketbooks. We are living in a new time. The time of sacrifice. The unions need to see this as well. Let’s let them take a pay cut and stop living like parasites off the back of our teachers and students.

    Ask yourself the question, who stands to benefit the most from seeing this legislation fail? Let’s not play on the heart strings that we need to protect our teachers to prevent progress. This legislation protects good teachers. The unions protect themselves.

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