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Home / Articles / Editorial / Endorsements /  Vote no on Issue2/S.B. 5; it's anti-worker, anti-Ohio
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Wednesday, September 28,2011

Vote no on Issue2/S.B. 5; it's anti-worker, anti-Ohio

We strongly urge our readers to vote no on Issue 2 in the November general election. This up-or-down vote on the union-busting Senate Bill 5 will go a long way toward determining whether Ohio's a state that truly cares about a large segment of its middle-class workers and families, or one that sacrifices them to red-state, anti-union ideology.

Issue 2/S.B. 5 goes much further than its supporters' public argument – that it simply provides long-needed, good-government, cost-saving reforms to labor-government relations in Ohio. Much more than that, it's a Trojan horse that will break the back of public-employee unions in Ohio, and in so doing, further cripple the Democratic Party's ability to compete with Republicans.


If that's fine with you, it's certainly not fine with a large portion of Ohio's population, the moderates, liberals and independents who already feel justifiably disenfranchised by the hyper-partisan redistricting and primary process in the state.


A yes vote on Issue 2 will allow S.B. 5 to go into effect, negatively impacting 180,000 schoolteachers, 123,000 school district workers, 30,000 police officers and firefighters, 57,000 state workers and more than 300,000 general government employees.


These figures come from a well-researched report in Sunday's Dayton Daily News, which also noted that S.B. 5 "has the potential to impact 11 million Ohioans who pay taxes to operate 3,700 different government jurisdictions across the state."

A no vote on Issue 2, however, will keep our state from turning these hundreds of thousands of public-sector workers into scapegoats for our state's persistently sluggish economy, or being forced to pay the price for the reckless tax cuts that legislative Republicans pushed through five years ago.

In a nutshell, as explained in the Daily News' reporting on this complicated issue, "Senate Bill 5 would outlaw strikes by public employees, require government workers to pay at least 15 percent of their health care premiums and all their share of the pension contribution, replace raises based on seniority with a merit pay system, and allow management to impose its last offer as a three-year contract if the two sides reach impasse."

S.B. 5 would limit collective bargaining with public employees to wages, hours and terms of employment as well as placing a limit on vacation and sick time.

Perhaps the most insidious provision of S.B. 5 also happens to be the thing that betrays the virulently anti-labor and political motives of supporters. The bill would prohibit government worker donations from going directly to union political action committees, without the worker's approval, and would ban imposition of "fair-share" fees on non-union members.

The latter change, especially, would make it difficult for public employee unions to survive as effective institutions in Ohio, since why would your average employee pay for union benefits when he or she could benefit from the union contract without paying dues? (Smarter employees would realize that those benefits wouldn't last long without an effective union to protect them.)

These provisions put the lie to the Republican/Kasich argument that all they care about is reducing costs for local and state governments.

One can be alarmed about this legislation, even while agreeing that in some respects, public-sector unions have benefited from too many sweetheart deals at the expense of taxpayers. Most Ohioans are legitimately concerned about provisions in public-employee contracts that, for instance, allow an employee to accumulate a year's worth of sick and vacation time over time, and then receive a hefty cash windfall upon retirement.

And merit pay does make sense for public workers, though when it comes to schoolteachers, a shift in this direction is already happening, irrespective of S.B. 5.

Requiring public employees to pick up a minimum percentage of their health insurance costs, as well as a full share of their pension contribution, also doesn't seem unreasonable, though according to stats in the Dayton Daily News story, some 93.4 percent of public workers already pay their full pension contribution.

The point is that Gov. John Kasich and his legislative Republicans could have addressed those issues without striking directly at the heart of public-sector employees' ability to function as unions. Did they really need to eliminate the ability to strike, turn binding arbitration into a charade weighted heavily in the government's favor, and in general, destroy the unions' ability to leverage concessions from management?

Instead, S.B. 5 supporters' fundamental hostility to unions – especially those representing government workers – betrayed itself in any number of provisions whose main effect – and we would presume goal – is to cripple the public-sector unions, and indirectly hurt the Democratic politicians who benefit from their largesse.

This is why S.B. 5 involves much more than the benefits and wages of your neighbor who works on the police department, teaches at the local school, or has a job with the city street department.

S.B. 5, if allowed to go into effect with state Issue 2, will have the indirect consequence of sucker-punching not just Ohio Democrats, but common-sense independents and all of the moderates who have been driven out of the Rush Limbaugh/Sarah Palin /Tea Party Republican Party over the past five years.

If you support mainstream and/or moderate positions on public and higher education, health care, environmental regulation, the economy, social issues, and any number of other areas, then you can't support a ballot issue that will enhance the power of an Ohio Republican Party that's increasingly controlled by its extremist fringe, and that currently is on the verge of further consolidating its power through the redistricting process.

If you think about politics in broad terms, with every policy debate a battle in a larger war, then you should think of Issue 2/S.B. 5 as Gettysburg. This is a battle that we can't afford to lose.

Vote a resounding no on state Issue 2.

 

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REPLY TO THIS COMMENT

Why is this different than the President wanting everyone to pay their 'fair share'?  The Govenor and leadership is essentially asking others to do the same.  Why isn't everyone on the left and the pro-union crowd celebrating this great effort to make Ohio stronger?  Hypocritical reaction indeed from many on this issue.  Don't touch my entitlements...just take from that other person instead.  There is no scapegoating going on here.  Public service workers work for the State and as such the State should have the full right to make such changes as they see fit to maintain a balanced budget and healthy environment for growth and stability.  Unions are old school and are strangling the 21st century economy in America.  No one should be forced to pay dues anymore.  It is simply the legal version of the old mob racket 'protection'.  This practice should be banned in a modern society.  Vote yes on 2.

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT

Here's an easy to understand scenario explaining the obvious CONFLICT OF INTEREST caused bu unions representing government employees....

The Scenario:

I'm a carpet cleaner. I have come to your house
and cleaned your carpets. I've done a fair job at best and
I'm done. You're not entirely happy with the results.

As I'm loading my equipment into my truck you hear your
"idiot" neighbor outside (yeah... the one that BLASTS the
music at ALL hours, has a dog that NEVER stops barking,
wolf-whistles at your wife, and throws his beer bottles over
the fence into your yard).

You realize the neighbor is laughing and joking with ME. As
you listen you realize your neighbor is my BROTHER!
Eavesdropping a bit more you learn that I and my wife are
treating my brother and his wife to a Bahamas cruise in a
week.

You walk outside hoping to break up the reunion and get this
over with just to be informed that the amount YOU will pay
will be determined by your NEIGHBOR! You have NO input
WHATSOEVER as to the price, and you MUST pay whatever your neighbor decides is "fair"!

Oh... and by the way... I'll be back in the fall to clean
again.... same rules apply... and since I've been doing this
long enough, you MUST allow it!

This the at the heart of the SB5 debate!

PUT IN SIMPLE TERMS..

The UNIONS negotiate wages and benefits for PUBLIC WORKERS (and by default the amount the UNIONS collect) with POLITICIANS.

Politicians get HUGE amounts of money from unions.

You as TAXPAYERS now MUST pay those wages and benefits NO MATTER WHAT THE AMOUNT IS!!!!


 

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT

So essentially the argument is that it’s more important to preserve the lobbying function of unions than it is to preserve the economic stability of the country going forward? Collective bargaining consistently awards state and local employees a total compensation package that far outstrips those found in the private sector (http://eng.am/pZofYR).



With trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities looming, the country simply cannot afford to continue down this path. Is SB5 tougher than other reforms going around the country? Perhaps, but the alternative is potentially disastrous.



Ultimately this is coming down to politicking and not fiscal responsibility. You saw the same thing in Wisconsin, and now that all the drama is out of the way, and the actual legislation is put in action, we’re seeing a great number of success coming from the state (http://eng.am/q1J17I).

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
b

What do you think of an employer that gives you a job, and part of the pay is that the employer will pay x amount of your benefits? OK, that's fine. Then, after you've worked for them for 15 years, they break their agreement and, without negotiating with you, charge you for the benefits that once were part of your pay?

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT

So, if I understand this correctly, then most of the comments here are people in favor of eliminating collective bargaining for Gubmint employees only?


Do you think that Gubmint union employees should be treated differently than private union employees?


Do you think that collective bargaining (and in effect, unions) should be outlawed?


Do you think that outlawing collective bargaining is constitutional?


Remember, no one forces the Gubmint to enter into a bargaining agreement. 


I am not a union member - though at times I wish I was...


I do know that without unions, our vanishing middle and working classes would be non-existent, and you and I would be working in the equivalent of 3rd world sweat-shops.


If anyone thinks things would be better without the NLRA, then they are probably either a fool or a liar.


SB-5 is part of a larger plan, and it’s based on the premise that if Gubmint unions lose their clout, then all unions, and any protection any worker has will eventually be taken away.



http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/collective_bargaining


 


 

 

 
 
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