The PEOPLE won one yesterday. And it is potentially a huge win. The score is now People 1, Public Employee Unions 0.
And thank you John Kasich the new Republican Governor of Ohio. That’s right, Ohio. A union stronghold state, and they booted public employee unions.
Republicans, and it must be noted that they were split on this issues, won a big victory in Ohio with the state Senate passing SB05, a bill that basically strips public employees of most collective bargaining rights. The bill now goes to the Ohio House where Republicans hold a solid majority and then on to the Governor for his signature. Cleveland.com describes the highlights of the bill this way…
The bill redefines what contract terms public workers can collectively bargain with their employer. Wages can still be negotiated. Health care benefits, pension pick-ups and other provisions, however, will be off the table. And management can decide to negotiate other terms, including safety forces’ equipment.
The bill also bans public workers from striking, establishes penalties for striking — including jail time — and establishes a new system for resolving labor disputes. Instead of binding arbitration, the employer’s legislative body, such as a city council, would decide whether to side with a union or management.
A merit-based pay system would be established . If workers are laid off, length of employment could not be the only factor under consideration.
This is a great start and needless to say, unions and Democrats (sorry for the redundancy) are apoplectic over this.
“This law is not only unjust, it is unconscionable,” Sen. Nina Turner, a Cleveland Democrat, said. “But it is also un-American. It strips middle class Americans of their rights.”
Hardly Senator Turner. It’s just a decent start at leveling the playing field and putting the ball into the hands of the people who have to pay for the contracts that up until now have largely gone un-reviewed and unnoticed and are going to run the state, as well as the cities and towns on Ohio, into either bankruptcy or the Ohio river. The parts of this particular law that have the ability to begin to be game changers include the following provisions:
- Ban strikes by public workers, including teachers.
- Establishes penalties, including jail time, for strikers.
- Eliminates binding arbitration.
- Puts the legislative body responsible for finding the money to pay for contracts in charge of contractual decisions.
- Merit pay.
- Benefits are off the table.
Let’s make no mistake about this win folks. It, in itself, is no game changer. It’s still the bottom of the first inning of what will be a very long game. Labor and Democrats won’t take this lying down (they will lie about though), the war is just beginning and it’s not like the Republican Party is solidly behind either Governor Kasich or the idea of neutering public employee unions. Six Republicans in the Ohio Senate joined Democrats and we ended up with a one vote win. But “W” is a “W”, just ask Obama. Governor Kasich and the Republican leadership – who could give lessons to their Washington DC counterparts – had to play real hardball to win this victory. In order to get the bill out of committee and to the floor for a final vote they had to address a problem very much like the problems faced by Conservatives in the US Senate with the swing vote against the bill in committee was “Republican” Bill Seitz from Cincinnati. Cleveland.com notes that the Republican leadership took matters in hand and replaced Seitz on the committee with a pro-sanity Republican, Sen. Cliff Hite, of Findlay. The bill was then voted out of committee and to the floor on a 7-5 vote.
So, I’m pleased to start the day on a positive note and I trust Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans are taking note of the win in Ohio. This can be the start of a roll-up for Republicans and for the people who have to pay the bills. Republican administrations in several states are looking hard at similar legislation, including Iowa, Pennsylvania and Florida. It’s time to build a real head of steam and take out the trash. And just so there’s absolutely no misunderstanding, the picture to the right is the leftovers from a union demonstration in Wisconsin and yes, I am absolutely equating pubic employee unions to trash.
You can also follow this at The Minority Report.
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