Senator Jim HughesI’ve had more than one person indicate that that Senator Jim Hughes (R-Columbus) has announced that he is a definitely “No” vote on SB 5. 

However, I sought confirmation from those who are doing the whip count on the bill, and I’m sorry to say that it’s no sure bet that Hughes will oppose SB 5 at this time.  Or, at least, he’s refusing to acknowledge it publicly.

According to my source, Hughes’ legislative assistant told them that Hughes has “officially taken no position on the bill, but is awaiting amendments in the committee process.”

Until a member says definitively, we have to assume that a Republican member of the State Senate is sitting on the fence and potentially will support the bill.  After all, Governor Kasich has offered his support for the bill and Senate President Niehaus has called passage of it a top priority of his chamber.

The moderate (on labor issues) members of the Republican caucus are under enormous pressure not to break ranks and don’t want to appear to be opposing Kasich, a member of their own party. 

I had failed to consider Hughes in my initial post.  I should have.  There are two possibilities: 1) Hughes is opposed but is not willing to publicly say so; 2) Hughes is a soft no and will oppose the bill unless it is sufficiently amended to get his support.

Either way, I think it’s too soon to count this chicken as hatched.

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  • Kelly

    I think that is a fair assessment. I heard from a “higher-up” in the teachers’ union that they were pretty confidant Hughes would oppose the bill.

  • Jimbob_boyorganist

    He’s a REAL nightmare!

  • Shawkman

    how can he be on the fence, i would rather a policeman help me than worry about his or her health benefits and pay scale. Or a teacher to teach our children rather than worry about the same pay and health coverage. A fireman to save my house. rather than the same. how about all other our public workers. trash man, prison officials, highway state patrol. All of these people pay a huge role in helping us in our state and cities. They all keep us smart, clean and protected. This will be real bad if it passes for everyone! EVEN YOUR KIDS WILL BE AFFECTED!!!!

  • Ingthing

    As groups and individuals make opportunities to talk with Jim Hughes (this is critical), they should realize that his own State Senate biography mentions that he received the Ohio Fire Chief’s Association Legislator of the Year Award (2009) and the Ohio Federation of Teachers’ Friend of Education Award (2009). His term expires 2012 and he’s eligible for another 4-year term. He needs to be reminded of the need to remain a friend of educators and firefighters.

  • ummeli

    Senator Grendell says he opposes SB 5 in its “current form”. A friend of mine just sent me this email she received from his office:

    From: Senator Grendell
    Date: Mon, Feb 14, 2011 at 12:19 PM
    Subject: RE: senate bill 5
    To: @gmail.com

    Thank you for contacting Senator Grendell regarding SB 5.

    First of all, Senator Grendell does not support the bill in this form.
    He does not support the total elimination of binding arbitration.
    Senator Grendell is looking at other options and researching
    alternatives employed by other states. The state of New Jersey has
    imposed an economic based cap on binding arbitration and Senator
    Grendell is exploring this possibility as well as other alternatives.
    Again, Senator Grendell does not support SB 5 in this form and he
    suggests that you contact Senator Jones (email: SD7@senate.state.oh.us
    )the sponsor of the bill and make her aware of your thoughts regarding
    the bill.

    Thank you for contacting Senator Grendell and please don’t hesitate to
    contact the office if we can be of any assistance to you in the future.

  • Anonymous

    We’d recommend you call or e-mail him directly as he probably doesn’t read us that much. 🙂
    http://www.ohiosenate.gov/jim-hughes.html
    Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the clarification.

  • Anonymous

    You guys keep this up and you might just convince us all that’s its possible the bill could be defeated. 🙂 Good catch.

  • Anonymous

    Um, what out of State union offices?

  • Wronged Ohioan

    I’m really sick and tired of this bull$###$! We need representatives in office who know right from wrong and are willing to do what’s best for Ohio’s workers. If Hughes is afraid or too ignorant to recognize the harm that SB5 causes us, Why the freek is he still a representative!!

    It’s now or never for him to make a stand, and heaven help us if he’s just another Kasich drone.

  • Slapshot

    One, I will feel about $9000 worth of pain in pay cuts. Two, out of state union offices? Are you talking when our governor talked about the binding arbitration guy from Kokomo. Hate to be the one to tell you, but he’s wrong and an idiot. Senator Jones’ bill is neither bold or necessary. I have not heard one figure in two days of readings about how much it will save the state or how many jobs it will bring in. I am guessing because the answer to that question is zero. No jobs and no benefits.

  • leeseh

    Even Henry Ford realized that if you didn’t pay people enough, they can’t buy your product. This is not just about state employees, it’s about the businesses they spend money at, buying a house, a car, saving more for retirement (because PERS isn’t quite enough, even though the Republicans want you to think public employees are getting something extra), saving to send your children to college, etc., etc., etc. You gain NOTHING by killing the middle class wages!

  • Pragmatic_one

    The demand side of the economic equation is being totally ignored not just here but in Europe as well. “Austerity” is just a way to stick the middle class with the bill for the excesses and mistakes of an upper class which has never in our history been more priviliged, protected and fawned over by politicians. And then they turn around and say Health Care Reform equates to a “nanny state” !!! And these are people living off millions of dollars of dividends on which they pay a total of 15% tax. Nanny state indeed.

    This is what it feels like to be slowly degraded from being an American to being just another pawn in one gigantic global labor pool. Funny how its them who wraps themselves in the flag isn’t it?

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    I think these people are scared of their own party.
    Its a shame — this is nothing more than a social agenda.
    All wages will go down– watch and wait
    Too bad we cant get some lawyer to write some legislation of our own– get petitions signed and cut their salaries– vote on merit raises for them about every 2 years —
    cut out the travel pay ( they are just driving from their homes to Columbus anyway)
    they probably get a tax break on their clothes also–we should dock their pay when they decide to run for re-election ( after all that usally takes the whole last year of their term) only pay them for 3 days a week — we are always hearing they dont work much on Mondays or Fridays ( travel days to statehouse and home)
    do you ever wonder… what would happen if they had to live for just a month on what you make — they would starve to death …. people say karma is a b___ …and history repeats itself– maybe next time it will go against them BIG time
    I sure wont forget this crap anytime soon

  • Anonymous

    This is not killing middle class wages, that is just a rallying cry. Do not get me wrong, I feel your pain that you will have to take less especially in an environment where people are struggling as is. However, this is not an environment where some rich corporations make a ton of money off the backs of workers. This is about the tough choices that we as citizens need to make about what services we can afford, and what level of service as a society and locality we want. Unfortunately, times are tough for localities all over the state and the economics of 10-20 years ago are not true today. Unfortunately, the union contracts work under realities of a prior time. That leaves us citizens, via our elected officials, some tough choices, 1) we could lay off public employees (not a very good thing for those who lose their jobs) 2) we could spread the cuts equally so all feel some pain but it is better than losing the job completely, or 3) we could as citizens all pay more in taxes so that we could meet the demands to keep these jobs.

    Unfortunately, times are tough on the citizens of the state and they do not feel like they could pay more so #3 is not a viable option. They fully understand that the level of service will be cut but it is a choice that we as citizens understand. As in the private sector, we experience these realities all the time. It is simple economics. IT is not about public employees getting anything extra, it is about the economics. If you do not like the new wage structure, there is nothing to keep you working there. Just because you went to school to be trained in a position does not mean you need to/are entitled to work there. THere are a lot of highly educated people who cannot get jobs because the realities of the economy have rendered their prior careers obsolete.

  • Anonymous

    You seem to ignore the prior four years in which the unions made concession after concession. To say that they haven’t faced economic realities is an act of ironic lack of awareness.

  • Mom2two

    I don’t see how any of your three choices has anything to do with eliminating collective bargaining. The last round of bargaining essentially offered state employees choice 1 and choice 2.. surprisingly, they opted for choice 2 and took serious cuts to pay and benefits. That was the RESULT of collective bargaining. Eliminating collective bargaining will not lower your taxes, it won’t save the state any money, it won’t create jobs promised by the GOP… it will do nothing except take away the rights of thousands of employees.

    I am of the opinion that my taxes going to pay teachers, firemen and police officers, as well as the rest of the state employees who support this state, is a lot better than say.. a pay INCREASE for Kasich’s cabinet. When will they “feel the pain” the rest of us are forced to?

  • Anonymous

    No where in SB5 does it say it will take away collective bargaining. IN fact, I would have proposed making Ohio a Right to Work state which is fair to all employees but that is for another time.
    SB5 still allows for collective bargaining but only limits it to ceratain areas around wage compensation and allows the employer more flexibility when it comes to negotiating benefits (which will be done outside of collective bargaining). It also allows the public a right to view the last best offer when negotiations reach a stalemate. This can actually be a benefit to the unions when the employer is not fighting fair, however, if the union is acting as a bad player, then they will be exposed in the court of public opinion. SO NO, SB5 does not get rid of collective bargaining.

    I hear a lot of complaining about this issue about how it is wrong but no-one offers a viable solution. All I hear is about how they are sticking it to the middle class, which amounts to nothing but useless rhetoric. I agree that Kaisch sets a poor precedent giving his cabinet members a raise in these times but the other common theme of taking away the raises to Kaisch’s people and giving them to teachers and firemen does not solve a darn thing either. That is because the amount of extra money that Kaich’s people may get is such a small insigificant amount in the big picture of it all. So then I ask you again what is your viable solution?? Assume you cannot raise taxes because the voting public will not accept that.

  • Anonymous

    No where in SB5 does it say it will take away collective bargaining. IN fact, I would have proposed making Ohio a Right to Work state which is fair to all employees but that is for another time.
    SB5 still allows for collective bargaining but only limits it to ceratain areas around wage compensation and allows the employer more flexibility when it comes to negotiating benefits (which will be done outside of collective bargaining). It also allows the public a right to view the last best offer when negotiations reach a stalemate. This can actually be a benefit to the unions when the employer is not fighting fair, however, if the union is acting as a bad player, then they will be exposed in the court of public opinion. SO NO, SB5 does not get rid of collective bargaining.

    I hear a lot of complaining about this issue about how it is wrong but no-one offers a viable solution. All I hear is about how they are sticking it to the middle class, which amounts to nothing but useless rhetoric. I agree that Kaisch sets a poor precedent giving his cabinet members a raise in these times but the other common theme of taking away the raises to Kaisch’s people and giving them to teachers and firemen does not solve a darn thing either. That is because the amount of extra money that Kaich’s people may get is such a small insigificant amount in the big picture of it all. So then I ask you again what is your viable solution?? Assume you cannot raise taxes because the voting public will not accept that.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, we all know what a bleeding heart liberal the Warren County Sheriff is.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, we all know what a bleeding heart liberal the Warren County Sheriff is.

  • Anonymous

    I know that there have been lots of concessions made, they have had no choice. My whole point is the market can dictate this much more effectively than a binding arbitration contract. If the districts cut too sharply and services fall off, then municipalities will then need to offer incentives to make these positions more attractive (yay worker), when the economy is poor, then we do a little belt tightening.

    I get the feeling that many people feel that having a job is an inalienable right. It is not.

  • Kelly

    SB5 doesn’t completely eliminate collective bargaining. It justs carves out many aspects of the employee/employer relationship, such as benefits, vacation, sick time, etc. and says these areas are off the table and workers will have to take whatever their employers give them.

    This is about as drastic of an attack on collective bargaining as can be made without completely eliminating it.

    And for what purpose? The “stated aim” is to give school districts, counties, cities and other local government entities flexibility with employees such that they can better deal with impending budget cuts.

    And that is BS. Indeed, public employee unions have already demonstrated their ability to negotiate fairly in tough economic times as evidenced by recent agreements to take pay cuts.

    No one here is saying they should be immune from economic pain. Rather, the objection is to an obvious power grab and gratuitous swipe at labor that is motivated by politics not by a sincere effort to deal with Ohio’s budget woes.

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    actually out of 9 years 5 have been w/o raises and then 2 consecutive years of “cost saving days ( aka furloughs) and all the while the cost of living inceased-
    and sorry jj1000 it does take away collective bargaining the stipulations that talk of ties the hands of the unions — once you “pick out” what cant be bargained for — no choices no bargaining.
    and by the way right to work states arent fair — they let unions bargain for “some” things but the people that opt out get the benefits that were bargained for –as far as I am concerned if you dont pay dues then you get nothing the union does for those who do pay dues!! yes I am pro union and proud of it –AND the right to work states have just as high unemployment as the ones that dont ( not all but a lot of them)
    and more thing — what new rights have you been given lately– none because this is America and we have all kinds o
    of rights-right? nope not anymore — this is the beginning of loosing rights — and yes the middle class is getting it stuck to them–BIG time
    its because no one has yet messed with any of your rights and when they do lets see how loud you complain — and to be clear theres a difference between laws and rights — so dont name crap like ” they make me wear a seat belt or cycle helmet “– oh boohoo some one is trying to keep you a little safer
    sorry modern i shoulda addressed this to jj1000 not you the next post is for you

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    hey modern wheres the video of the gov calling a cop a idiot–I am disappointed –I figured you had it posted

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    you go !! thats right power grab it is they have both houses ( the R’s )Ms Jones I believe stated last week when she opened up SB5 that is has NOTHING to do with budget concerns — agenda item! this can of worms that has been opened up will come back to bite them– this takes in so much more than the employees know– it WILL affect non-union as well — because when the cuts in wages start people will no longer be spending– no spending then businesses dont make a profit — no profits then jj1000 that causes your boss to lower your wages and while hes at it he will say by the way your healthcare portion has increased too
    AND no costs of anything will decrease

    kelly has a good handle on this —-nice post !

  • pragamatic_one

    “However, this is not an environment where some rich corporations make a ton of money off the backs of workers.” – Are you saying that this is a desirable situation in which an economy should function? We need to take huge wage cuts so corporations can once again make a ton of money off our backs? Is that the only way for an economy to prosper? Because if it is, we need to seriously change the nature of capitalism.

    “.. the economics of 10-20 years ago are not true today.” – And why would that be? Unions have been getting demolished for the past 10-20 years and yet things are not better. Except at the top. And yet. let me guess, the answer is more tax cuts and more of taking the axe to the middle class.

    “THere are a lot of highly educated people who cannot get jobs because the realities of the economy have rendered their prior careers obsolete. ” – Baloney. Their prior careers are not obsolete they have just been moved via labor arbitrage to places where workers make $1 dollar per hour and the rivers are so polluted you can smell them from 100 miles away. I kind of always thought the role of our government and of our policies was to benefit Americans, not to fulfill some globalist capitalist Randian fantasy. I guess I was wrong about all that.

  • Mom2two
  • Pingback: Senate Republicans don’t have the votes yet to pass SB 5()

  • Joni Shade

    Senator Hughes, Do not vote against this bill. I am a retired teacher. The union is the cause of many problems in our schools

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