In today’s Cleveland Plain Dealer, Reggie Fields cites as an example of the support by Ohio’s cities of Governor-elect Kasich’s desire to see a major undercutting of public sector unions’ ability to negotiate under Ohio law the City of Middletown… which is about fifteen minutes from where I live.  Here’s what the Plain Dealer claimed:

The Middletown City Council recently passed a resolution asking the Ohio General Assembly to revise the state’s collective bargaining law.

City Councilman Josh Laubach, who authored the resolution, said the city had to dip into reserves to pay police and fire costs this year and is expecting a $2.5 million increase in safety personnel in 2011 despite adding no new positions, according to the Middletown Journal.

You know what else the Plain Dealer could have learned according to the Middletown Journal?

After being bombarded by more than 300 e-mails and 200 union members and supporters, City Council voted Tuesday to table a resolution urging state officials to change laws regarding collective bargaining.

Councilman Josh Laubach, who had introduced the proposal, cast the lone vote against tabling the matter.

Not only did the resolution not pass the City of Middletown, but the rest of the City Council voted to kill the resolution.

Councilman Laubach, the twenty-seven year old guy who introduced the resolution, was the only person who didn’t vote to kill the resolution.  A rookie city councilman who ran on cutting taxes and the number of Section 8 vouchers available in the city.  In other words, a political neophyte who was elected to office with little real world experience filled with conservative ideological talking points.

In thirteen years, the City of Middletown has only had four issues ever go to binding arbitration, and what is left out of this such arbitration exists as an alternative to striking.  Kasich has yet to articulate what he’s leaving unions as a vehicle to resolve disputes with management except “bend over.”

I seriously cannot believe that the Plain Dealer could make such a fundamental error and elevate a city council resolution, one that didn’t even pass, and cite it as an example of support for Kasich’s agenda.  I think the entire thing sounds like this was an incredibly scripted act of political theater that went according to plan until the rest of the Middletown City Council refused to go along.  The coincidences in timing is just too much to ignore, although Councilman Laubach has adamantly denied that he introduced his resolution to be anti-labor or for partisan reasons. 

[UPDATE:]  The Plain Dealer updated their story around 3:30 today to note that the city tabled the resolution.  That, of course, raises the question of what relevance does it have to Kasich except to show how unpopular Kasich’s rhetoric is.

  • Anastasjoy

    I totally believe it. I would expect no less from the Plainly Republican. We have seen in the last week and a half how they ginned up public outrage about nothing to try to cripple the new county council and probably another step in their effort to eliminate the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party. So we know they will lie, spin, overlook critical facts, twist stories into unrecognizable. But on top of that, the rumor i heard was that with even a right-leaning editorial board divided on who to endorse for governor, publisher Terrence Egger put his thumb on the scale for Kasich — BECAUSE Egger is anti-union and saw a kindred spirit in Kasich. I don’t know for sure what is going on there now, but several people have told me that new editor Debra Simmons who replaced Susan Goldberg nearly two months ago has a reputation for being bland and compliant. So Egger may in fact be calling the shots. The paper has definitely gotten infinitely worse in the last couple of months. Something is going on. I suspect you can count on it to praise as a statemanship any anti-union moves Kasich makes.

  • Anastasjoy

    Their correction also raises the issue of how accurate Plain Dealer reporting ever is and how much of an agenda does have.

  • Sigh – being a sitting elected, I have to say – that kind of error is very, very, VERY worrisome. There’s no question about the effect personnel obligations are having on city budgets, but really – the story is actually that that resolution got killed. The story should be about why, in the face of such terrible revenues v. obligations, cities will still resist passing such resolutions. THAT is the story that everyone needs to understand. People want to say it’s a matter of political will – but there are people and families on both sides of this problem. It’s the sense that John Kasich doesn’t understand that – when clearly local city electeds do – that is so frightening.

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    Well I was there in attendance for this fiasco–it was about a very young councilman–(My councilman in fact for my ward) that did not really check out to many facts — all he had to say was that the FOP and the firemans union was costing a lot in union arbitrations when it came to the citys budget– theres been one arbitration recently and that was in 2006 or 2007 –the Fop was given a 3% raise by the arbitrators ( arbitrators about 90 % of the time side with managments ) WOW a 3% raise 3 years ago they really got rich off that– the councilman had no numbers to back up anthing he wanted to “re-write” the collective bargaining law — just keep saying it costs money in personnel for the city. Oddly enough it was oppossed by at least 3 of the other council members saying they didnt think they could support the issue because it wasnt written well enough. Councilman Laubach was the only NO vote — even after a retired Fop member pointed out the value of the union collective bargaining going back to the days of not having such things in place. See in the collective bargaining ( in bargaining for a new contract years ago and this is true of most state and city and county employees — theres most always a DO NOT STRIKE clause ) it was pointed out that people could then strike causing a lot of concern for safety of this town.
    If any of you have been paying attention attacking the collective bargaining law is a ” Kasick ” agenda item. My belief is that this very inexperienced councilman was doing nothing more than getting on the bus with Kasich.( who knows maybe hes applied for a position with the new Gov elect)
    Plunderbund can probably attain a copy of the televised meeting fron TV Middletown. A total of 10 citizens and union leaders spoke that night all against –there was not 1 citizen that spoke in favor.
    It was also brought up that there was no need to put Middletown in the middle of this that it would be addressed someplace else –soon. Bringing another question for me ” Why wasnt Mr Laubach aware of the intention of Kasich to break unions collective bargaining?”
    If I have point to make its this — I will campaign against this guy the next time he runs– I dont want someone to represent me that hasnt kept up state issues let alone city issues.
    The union representatives offered several solutions even willing to talk about the budget to see where they may help in coming months.
    I wrote e-mails to the Mayor and also Mr Laubach so far I have recieved no response.

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    PS>>>>Can you imagine what will happen to everys wages if the unions are broken– most people think it will only effect union members– sorry not true — a lot of times its used as examples of what other statescity,county wages are in comparison — then the private sector comes and states such comparisions even though they dont support unions — we will be working for $8.00 an hour- and breaking collective bargaining in Kasichs eyes? Privatize all he can — putting the gov employees out of work — I thought he ran on creation of jobs — I think Kasich has personal issues with the union workers of Ohio– a persoal axe to grind you might say—
    I can not believe the people hes appointing — lots of secret bonuses — for a lot of buddies–
    He certainly missed the train …………….in more ways than one …………..

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