All the news and media are concentrating on Wisconsin and its fight to eliminate it’s debt via union changes and contributions. Under the radar, Ohio is making good progress with a bill that will change the landscape. The bill will roll back the union collective bargaining rights and forbids union strikes. And it looks like this bill will easily be passed. This is great news for stopping the big union deals that has bankrupt the country. SHAW
Ohio Senate Panel Approves Union Bill
A bill aimed at weakening public employee unions was voted out of a State Senate committee on Wednesday, a step toward full approval of a measure that Democratic opponents say would roll back workers’ collective bargaining rights more than a generation.
The Ohio Senate’s Insurance, Commerce and Labor committee voted 7-to-5 in favor of the bill, which is scheduled to come to the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon, where it is expected to be approved by the Republican majority. The legislation is also expected to pass the House, where Republicans are also in the majority, and then signed into law by Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, who has said he supports it.
Unions say the bill is no less than a near-complete dismantling of public worker protections that have been in place in Ohio since 1983.
The law would, among other things, allow elected officials to have the final word in ending labor impasses — instead of the current system in which neutral arbitrators play that role.
“This is a very frightening proposition,” said Sue Taylor, president of the Ohio Federation of Teachers. “Our voices are being diminished substantially.”
Administrators, however, said they thought the measure — which had been amended this past weekend — had been softened in favor of public workers, because it preserves the right of unions to publicly bargain. But union members said the revised bill failed to alter the essence of the measure, and in some cases made it worse.
The bill’s supporters said the action was necessary to reduce the power of public unions and to help bridge a budget gap during a time of high unemployment.
“When your economy goes south, you’ve got to have a reset switch to be able to bring it back into line to balance your budget,” said Mike Bell, the mayor of Toledo. “This will help do that.”
Labor leaders, however, said the right to publicly bargain is useless without having the ability to strike, which the bill expressly forbids — and in some cases, criminalizes.
“You go to the bargaining table and your employer says ‘No,’ ” said John J. Marrone, a representative of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. “You’re stuck.”