Yesterday, Senate President Tom Niehaus (R-New Richmond) announced that today the Senate Insurance, Commerce & Labor Committee will begin hearing testimony on State Sen. Shannon Jones’ SB 5, to eliminate or modify the right of public employees to engage in collective bargaining.

We’re working to see if there’s a more substantive version of the bill because the present bill is just a “placeholder” bill that declares an intent to either modify or eliminate the right for public employees to engage in collective bargaining.

According to an interview in Gongwer, Niehaus has indicated that he believes collective bargaining for public employees “most likely” needs repealed, but also indicated that any legislation to make Ohio a “Right to Work” state would not likely be considered by the Senate this year or possibly next.

Despite a considerable effort by the Kasich Administration to present Ohio’s collective bargaining laws as a reason for Ohio’s budget situation, a recent review by the Columbus Dispatch found that binding arbitration, which Kasich called a major escalator in government costs, resulted in just as many favorable decision for the government than it did for public employees.

The collective bargaining law for public employee has not been the major sop to those unions as the Republicans have portrayed.  They have prevented strikes, given an effective and fair alternative means to resolve labor/management disputes, and is hardly the reason for Ohio’s budgetary problems, especially compared to the 2005 tax cut package these same Republicans passed with nothing but “projected economic growth” that never materialized to pay for them all.

We’re watching this bill closely, but like RobsOhio, there is little expectation that the Republicans won’t pass something that is a major rollback of collective bargaining.  They’ll probably incorporate such changes within the budget to try and avoid subjecting such changes to a referendum repeal.

After all, the only public opinion poll on the question so far (Quinnipiac)  found that the bill was highly unpopular with Ohioans.

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It’s amazing just how quickly the GOP is burning up its political capital by pursuing things that appease a narrow constituency in their base, but is otherwise ballot box poison.

Seriously, 3C never polled as badly as Senator Jones’ proposal has.  Where’s the reporting on that?  The reality is that Governor Kasich himself waited until AFTER the election before he made any statements about wanting to repeal or rollback Ohio’s collective bargaining for a reason.  We can’t seem to find much evidence of this issue being featured in any Republican legislative candidates during the campaign, either.

I guess public opinion only matters when it’s against what a Democrat wants.

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