Collective Barganing Rights Under Fire in Ohio

By YeOldeScribe ~ March 3rd, 2011 @ 10:14 pm

Those of you following the news about budget repair bills and collective bargaining definitely know about the situation in Madison regarding the state budget and worker’s rights – a strife is covering in our series “Madness in Madison”. Especially if you live inside the state, you may not be aware that the plight of the public worker is not limited to Wisconsin, however. Similar measures are attempting to be passed across the Midwest, including in Indiana – where Democrats have also fled the state to avoid a vote (I’m thinking the Illinois Tourism Department had their next campaign all wrapped up), and in Ohio. Also, similar measures are being considered by Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christe (although both branches of the state’s legislature are controlled by Democrats).

Today’s news comes from Ohio, though, as the State Senate passed their budget reform bill, which curtails collective bargaining rights for public workers in the state. The bill passed the senate on a vote of 17-16, with six Republican Senators supporting their Democratic brethren in opposition to the bill. While the bill is similar in many respects to the Wisconsin version, there are a few key differences between the two scenarios:

* First, this bill only curbs collective bargaining rights, while its Wisconsin counterpart virtually does away with them.

* This bill did not receive unanimous support from Republicans – as we said earlier, six Republican Senators were courageous enough to break party lines and stand up for what they knew to be wrong.

* Republicans were actually willing to negotiate on the bill, removing a provision that would allow employer management to “impose its will on the final terms of the contract when fact-finding and mediation fail.” Can we say judge, jury, and executioner? Thankfully, this got removed, but only when a Republican said he’d jump ship if it didn’t get changed.

That being said, there’s still way too many similarities between the bills for to be happy about the scenario:

* Even if it doesn’t completely wipe away collective bargaining  rights, it does put a significant dent in them. The Ohio bill specifically creates new ways to settle workplace arbitration, bans strikes by public workers, places limits on worker vacation and ends automatic pay raises based on seniority (we actually don’t have a problem with that last one ending – merit based pay is a much better system, in our opinion).

* The bill does away with a long-standing tradition of protecting worker’s rights (collective bargaining has been on the books for 27 years in Ohio) in a very short amount of time, with little discussion. Said Democratic State Senator Joe Shiavoni: “That they can change a 27-year-old law in three weeks is scary.”

* This bill will become law – even sooner than Wisconsin’s bill will. The Republicans hold a 19-seat majority in the house, which has 99 members total. Even if a few decide to align themselves with the Dems (as happened in WI), it won’t be enough to stop its passing, and the Governor has already promised to sign it.

Looking at the big picture, even though there are many positives to be gleamed from the Ohio version of the bill, the ends result is still the same, and one does not support – a loss of voice for thousands of state workers across a state that has long recognized the importance of its workers.

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4 Responses to Collective Barganing Rights Under Fire in Ohio

  1. Alana Figueredo

    Knowledge is proud that she knows so much; Wisdom is humble that she knows no more. – Cowper

  2. Herman Threet

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  4. Mary Wachob

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