According to the memo being circulated by the Ohio Senate Republicans yesterday, binding arbitration is eliminated and essentially left with this process:

  • Both sides submit their last, best offer to the “legislative body” for that governmental unit.  These offers are made publicly available for the legislative body takes action.
  • The legislative body must then choose which offer to accept: the government’s or the union’s.  They cannot alter or split the difference.  They must accept entirely one party’s offer or accept the other.
  • Whatever option they choose is part of the binding collective bargaining agreement for three years.

Seriously, there are people who have been democratically elected to write our laws who don’t see the inherent flaw in this system.

You’re mandating that the government gets to choose between its own proposal and the union as a way to solve issues the two parties can’t agree on in negotiations.

First, this is not a “fair and equal” system of resolving disputes that Kasich claims he is trying to create.  It’s a system in which management will always win.  Second, it actually builds into the system an incentive for the government to negotiate in bad faith because any issue they can’t get resolved they get to resolve by getting the legislative unit to decide.  This means that the terms of collective bargaining contracts for State employees will get to be decided, essentially, by a majority of both houses of the General Assembly.  At the school level, I assume that means the school board.

On top of it all, the bill also means that if the Auditor simply places a governmental union on a fiscal watch (not emergency, mind you), then  pending collective bargaining agreements can be reopened.

Management gets to ultimate decide whether to go with its own proposals or labor’s, agreements can be reopened at any time, the State Employee Relations Board is required to conduct their own investigation as to whether or not to certify a bargaining unit even if the bargaining unit and management agree to allow the bargaining unit to represent labor employees.  The GOP claims the bill “adjusts the timelines” for collective bargaining units to be certified and to bargain.

The unions cannot negotiate on essentially anything other than wages, hours, and some terms and conditions of employment.  The unions cannot strike.  If they do, the government can permanently replace them, charge them double their wages as a penalty, or potentially have them jailed.  Their only method to resolve disputes in contract negotiations is a process in which the employer, essentially, gets to make all the decisions.  In other words, public employee unions are left with little they are allowed to collective negotiate on, they have any possible leverage unions have in such negotiations eliminated, and management gets to decide how to resolve any impasse in the limited negotiations.

SB 5 doesn’t preserve collective bargaining.  It turns it into collective begging.

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  • This will end up in court, you can bet on it.

  • Lindalou50

    There’s gonna be a big change in leadership if this passes. Jimmy Stewart’s getting the boot come 2012 !!

  • Any kindergardener can see this doesn’t even describe the table let alone the collective bargaining process.

    How can republicans of any faith -good or bad- think a worker could trust them?

  • Stop the craziness!

  • Guest

    While it’s horrid in its entirety, the fact that people can be jailed for striking seems… what are the words… FUBAR! Seriously, is there any modern democracy that so severely punishes an employee for exercising his/her rights?

  • Anonymous

    Yes. There are already constitutional lawsuits being filed in Wisconsin. However, with the makeup of the courts (esp. The Supreme Court, which will ultimately hear these cases), the question is moot. These are the same folks who made corporations a private citizen, and started the entire mess.

  • Bradley L. Cromes

    I’ll say this. What Senate Republicans are proposing here is similar to what’s known as “baseball-style” arbitration (so-called because Major League Baseball uses a similar format to decide pay disputes between players and owners). In and of itself, it actually is a pretty good approach, as it requires sides to consider their priorities carefully and not come to the table with outlandish demands/restrictions for fear of losing everything in the all-or-nothing decision.

    That said, you’re right about some of the proposal’s flaws. The decision maker must be a third-party neutral – not (as here) someone with “skin in the game.” It also would be much better to make that third-party neutral the final say (if a decision’s not binding and final, it’s not arbitration – it a hybridized form of mediation).

    On the whole, this is actually further than I’d expected Republicans to come on this issue. It’s not good (by any stretch), but it’s far from where we started (and far from where Sen. Jones wanted to end up).

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