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