In Ohio: Vote No On Issue 2

Well, I’m sitting here this early a.m. getting ready to complete my absentee ballot. And I really do believe that the only way you have a chance of changing things these days is by voting. At the same time, I’m no longer a big fan of standing in a queue to do anything. So let me grab my black marker and get the job over with.

OK. No on Issue 2.

Done.

I no longer have to watch the generally false and misleading TV ads being presented by both sides. Do government workers — I assume that means teachers, cops, firefighters and so on — really make 40 percent more than others working in Ohio? If so, given that teachers, cops, firefighters and so on receive patheticially poor pay for such important jobs, then Ohio has bigger problems than collective bargaining. I digress.

Anyway, here’s a story in the NYT that looks at both sides of the issue and presents some perspective, “Ohio Wages Fierce Fight on Collective Bargaining“:

The push to repeal the law, enacted by the Republican-led legislature in March, will be one of the biggest battles in the country this Election Day, with the law’s supporters and opponents expected to spend in total more than $20 million in the fight.

Supporters say the law is vital to curb labor’s power and to hold down state and local compensation costs during an era of increasing budget deficits. But opponents — who collected 1.3 million signatures to place the repeal vote on the Nov. 8 ballot — say the law unfairly scapegoats public employees, and weakens unions, a powerful ally of the Democrats.

“As someone who set out to serve his students, I don’t work on Wall Street; I serve Main Street,” Mr. Hayes said. “I didn’t cause the economic and financial problems caused by Wall Street, but now public employees like me have to suffer the consequences. We don’t sell collateral debt obligations, but we do sell cookies to help keep our schools going.”

In dozens of towns across Ohio, rival sides have set up phone banks and door-knocking efforts. Unions and their allies have created We Are Ohio, a group that is leading the repeal effort, which has 10,000 volunteers and hopes a victory will discourage Republicans in other states from adopting anti-union legislation. Mr. Kasich’s allies have created Building a Better Ohio, financed by business and conservative donors, to block repeal.

In many ways Senate Bill 5 goes further than the antibargaining law that Wisconsin’s Republican-led Legislature enacted in March over the protests of tens of thousands of union supporters. Ohio’s law allows only limited bargaining: If management and union do not reach a settlement, then city councils and school boards can impose their side’s final contract offer unilaterally. The Ohio law bans binding arbitration and bargaining on health coverage, pensions or staffing levels. It also requires government workers to pay at least 15 percent of their health insurance costs and pay 10 percent of their salaries toward their pensions.

The Ohio Senate president, Thomas E. Niehaus, who is campaigning against repeal, said, “These are reasonable reforms asking our public sector employees to do what private sector employees have been doing for decades: paying more for their health care and their pension benefits.” He denied that the bill eviscerated collective bargaining. “We are reforming collective bargaining,” he said.

But one prominent Republican opponent of Senate Bill 5, State Senator Bill Seitz, said the bill all but erased collective bargaining by letting management decide which side’s final offer would prevail. He said it was like “going to divorce court and finding out your wife’s father is the judge.”

A Quinnipiac poll in late September found that Ohioans favor repeal by a 13 percentage point margin, 51 percent to 38 percent, down from a 24 percentage point margin in July. Opponents of repeal say they have significantly narrowed the gap since they began broadcasting advertisements after Labor Day.

While teaching at Kent State, I was a member of the American Association of University Professors. But I’m certainly no zealot when it comes to organized labor — or much of anything else for that matter. Although I do believe that the orchestrated move to diminish the influence of teachers unions while undercutting the professionalism and professional status of teachers will do more to cripple education in this country than all of the misguided “reforms” of the past several decades combined.

Yet on voting no on Issue 2, I’ll stand with the teachers, cops, firefighters and so on against the politic1ans — especially the one who sits in the big office in Columbus (and yeah, I voted for him) and no doubt is figuring out how to parlay this debacle into a run for the White House in 2016.

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2 responses to “In Ohio: Vote No On Issue 2

  1. I Hear you, but be carefull what you ask/vote for. I, for one dont believe asking public service employee’s to pay “their fair share” of the health care/pension benefits bestowed upon them by their neighbors/taxpayers is really that big of a deal. I pay 13% of my gross for health care with a 5K dedutible…never once hit the limit. Is it wrong to ask everyone to al least contribute the same? Isn’t that what the 99% on wallstreet are asking…that everyone pay their fair shair??
    The problem is going to be the next great crisis, from none other that the oracle of omaha, which is the default/bankruptcy of hundreds of cities/municipalities who can no longer afford to finance/supplement the sweetheart deals between the unions and the democrats in power. It’s a slush fund, has always been a slush fund and can no longer be sustained by dwidleling tax based.
    Look no further than the capital of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, which declared bankruptcy earlier this week.
    Its coming to a union controlled city near you..and the question will be, as it always is…who’s too big to fail, who do WE/I bail out and who do we not.

  2. burghthoughts,
    94%, yes 94%, pay their 10% percent into their pensions. I have seen the pro SB5 crowd saying union members don’t contribute anything. Those numbers come from SERB (State Employment Relations Board) and they have all the contracts. For every dollar my city would “pick up” of my pension (which they don’t), they could save 29 cents. SB5 removes this money saving choice. While I don’t know the exact % I pay on healthcare, my premium has increased 34% over the last 3 years. The pro SB5 crowd says I make 43% more in compensation than the private sector. 10% of my “generous” compensation is attributed to “Job Security”. I have yet to find a business that allows my to pay my debts will my 10% Job Security. The problem is not Unions. the problem is the government officials that blindly agree to contracts and then cry they have no money because of the Union “thugs”.

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