From the Canton Repository (which endorsed Kasich) “Tweak the process; don’t end it”:
The collective bargaining process in Ohio isn’t broken. It does need to be tweaked. But state employees don’t need to be stripped of collective bargaining rights.
Unfortunately, more heat than light is coming out of Gov. John Kasich’s office. Our combative new governor has said that if he doesn’t like the final version of SB 5, he’ll get what he wants through the budget bill, including adding provisions to “punish” state workers who strike.
Perhaps he has not noticed how rarely public employees in Ohio strike these days — unlike the days before the state law allowing collective bargaining took effect in 1984. Public employees called 67 strikes in 1978 alone, according to the State Employment Relations Board.
[T]here is a middle ground, if only legislators and Gov. Kasich will look for it.
What Jones and her allies would do well to consider is that the noisy opposition isn’t merely a reflection of organized labor rallying its troops. Republicans must resist engaging in excess, using the cover of a good idea to strike mere partisan blows.
The collective-bargaining law has been an asset in providing a vehicle for settling disputes that many times had turned ugly. Now the law requires updating and repair. Must that include the elimination of collective bargaining at the state level? Proponents still haven’t offered a persuasive answer. Why go so far as to require one-year contracts for teachers?
Take such steps, and the impression builds of a party more interested in ideological warfare than responsibly solving a problem.
Even a measured approach involves real sacrifice for public workers. Which points to another missing element. If public employees must feel the pinch, it makes sense that others also contribute to the greater good, say, the challenge of closing the huge budget deficit. Republicans would make a stronger case if they were willing to accept a higher tax rate for the wealthiest Ohioans, adding one penny or so to every $1 in income above $200,000. They would strike a blow for fairness, not to mention spare key priorities from deeper budget reductions.
Gov. John Kasich and the General Assembly are using the bare cupboard in the Statehouse as a pretext to roll back decades’ worth of public-employee labor law. A bill on a fast track in the Ohio Senate would outlaw the use of binding arbitration to resolve contract disputes that involve police officers and firefighters, who are legally barred from striking. It would allow governments to hire permanent replacements for public workers who do strike.
The juggernaut doesn’t stop there. Governor Kasich wants to forbid all public employees from striking. Although the Senate bill eliminates the collective-bargaining rights only of state employees, some lawmakers want to expand it to cover local public-sector workers as well. There’s even revived talk about making Ohio a right-to-work state, a change that would render union membership, in the public or private sector, virtually meaningless.
Some of the Senate bill’s provisions are valid, or at least worth discussing. But taken together, these proposals go too far. However dire the immediate fiscal condition of Ohio governments, you won’t fix it by imposing a 19th-century model of labor relations.
[UPDATED:] The Cleveland Plain Dealer, which endorsed Kasich, joins the chorus, too:
That said, it’s unfortunate the GOP approach has been to set a maximalist tone on an issue that should be looked at carefully —-before discarding a system that has brought decades of labor peace to the public sector, just as it was intended to do.
That’s one reason the GOP "vehicle" for reform, a bill sponsored by Dayton-area Republican Sen. Shannon Jones, has drawn throngs to the Statehouse — mostly to denounce it, although Gov. John Kasich backs the bill.
On one front, the Jones bill is incontestably radical. It would flat-out abolish collective bargaining for employees of the state government and of state-aided colleges, and would abolish longevity pay and "step" increases.
Yes, the 1983 law has promoted labor peace in Ohio’s public sector. The question is whether the cost has been too steep. The status quo, especially in school-union bargaining, just invites taxpayer revolts. Still, the watchwords in this Statehouse collective bargaining debate should be, "Mend — don’t end."
The common theme in each of these editorials is that SB 5 is extreme, hurts the middle class, and goes too far in order to score partisan points by the Republicans. However, they say that the unions are going to have to accept some modifications and, yes, further concessions in their contracts during this difficult budgetary times.
Of course, the Dispatch has already given their unqualified support for SB 5.
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