Ohio’s Public Union Collective Bargaining Reform (SB 5) Issue

If you drove down Dayton Avenue last Sunday, you may have noticed the traffic in and out of the Fraternal Order of Police parking lot. You may have also noticed the little sign inviting the public to sign the union-initiated referendum petition against Ohio Senate Bill 5. This is the recently passed law forbidding public employees from striking and limiting collective bargaining.

Notice, the bill does not end collective bargaining. Rather, it places considerable restrictions on the procedures and content of public union bargains. It also includes limits on employee benefits such paid sick leave, accrued vacation days, and the percentage of employer contribution to employee health care. The new law even prohibits public employers from paying employee pension plan contributions.

Offensive to members of NEA is the end of mandatory time off as sick days and the end of tenured contracts. The new law requires school boards to provide the specific number of paid sick days thus ending mandatory time off. Except for teachers with existing tenured contracts, the law ends continuing contracts.

In addition to reductions of benefits and certain perks, the new law will make public employees earn increased salaries. That is, the SB 5 makes employee pay based on merit not union seniority, time of service, or statutory pay scales. To unions, that is probably the most grievous evil of all.

SB 5 provides two additional benefits for taxpayers: public employers are now able to modify an existing bargaining agreement when such is in fiscal emergency or fiscal watch, and the new law prohibits a bargaining agreement from limiting a public employer’s ability to privatize operations.

It appears public union collective bargaining reform (SB5) law is meant to bring public employee pay and benefits in-line with the public sector. By doing so, the cost of government will be reduced.

Whether or not public employee unions get the required signatures to place the new law on the November ballot, the next reform on the public agenda should be the hierarchical reduction of government spending and subsequent taxation.

See a complete analysis of SB 5 at http://www.lsc.state.oh.us/analyses129/s0005-ps-129.pdf

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