The Columbus Dispatch did something it hadn’t done so far in the SB 5 debate, it finally found something to criticize the Republicans for considering: letting voters break union/management negotiation impasses.  It apparently is that this idea was being considered more seriously than I realized.  The only reason the Dispatch would write this editorial is if the House GOP hadn’t abandoned the idea already.

As we discussed early last week, the Republicans are struggling to find something to replace binding arbitration.  And those struggles apparently continue.  Yesterday, the Dispatch gave what has so far been the only real hints as to what changes are likely to be made to the bill by the House Republicans.

House Republicans, a number of whom have close ties to the local police and fire unions, have proposed several ideas, including using retired judges and allowing voters to vote on final contracts. Blessing said the system should not let either the union or government have a say in who resolves an impasse.

Legislative leaders also will clarify that safety forces can bargain over equipment. . . Legislative leaders also are looking at changes to how merit pay is defined in the bill, and some observers wonder if House Republicans will include language allowing public workers to refuse to have union dues taken from their paychecks through "fair share."

Although some House Republicans, like their counterparts in the Senate, have expressed interest in carving out the public safety unions (police/firefighters, in particular) from SB 5, Speaker Pro Tempore Louis Blessing that he doesn’t expect any such carve out to make it into the final bill.  Over the last several days, the Dispatch has also reported that approval to the House changes by the Senate in order to avoid a conference committee is less than a guaranteed thing:

Blessing said the chances of avoiding a conference committee are "probably 2-1 in our favor." [Source: Dispatch (3/26/11)].

For the GOP’s sake, I hope Blessing isn’t serious.  The political stakes are huge for them, and I can’t imagine that they’d really want this bill to be tied up in a referendum that is far more likely to bump Democratic turnout than Republican turnout if it’s on the ballot next year.  Maybe the GOP believes if they have a year to campaign on SB 5 they can change people’s minds as political tempers cool.  Maybe the House is playing a game of chicken with the Senate.  I dunno. 

But I cannot imagine that the House would proceed on a bill unless they were assured it had the votes in the Senate to pass and avoid a conference committee, thus ensuring that the referendum on the bill will be on the ‘12 Presidential ballot in Ohio.

What we’re left with is that the House Republicans will try to resolve what was seen, even by the few who SUPPORT SB 5, as one of the most glaring flaws in the bill.  The problem is that one of the two alternatives has been blasted by papers that favor and oppose SB 5 uniformly.  If the House Republicans add one of the Americans for Prosperity’s provisions, to eliminate the automatic deduction of dues for non-union members who directly benefit from collective bargaining agreements, it might be enough to push Karen Gillmor or Frank LaRose into opposition.  But if the Republicans can pick up Grendell and Seitz, it’s a wash, and the bill avoids a conference committee.

Hmm, maybe those 2:1 odds weren’t so conservative after all…  But the biggest problem for the GOP isn’t replacing collective bargaining, it’s how politically unpopular it is.  And the voters won’t have nearly as many problems replacing the GOP come next November.

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  • Gee it is like jumping out of a airplane without a parachute,then wondering what you should do.Just wait till the next election voters will know what to do.

  • Batchelder was interviewed on the local news this morning and he seemed to confirm binding arbitration was the sticking point. He admitted that the Senate’s proposed solution for replacing binding arbitration wasn’t going to work – but he wouldn’t reveal what alternatives the House was working on.

  • Natasha

    The GOP/Conservatives have won the SB5 and Budget battles in Ohio. They have deflected the opponents of their conservative agenda by putting out “non-starters” like the abortion bill and the ruse of eliminating binding arbitration in public employee contract talks. Their opposition is fragmented over single issues will be further divided next week when the GOP Oho house of representatives rolls out favorable treatment for police and fire unions.

    Teachers are screwed and true to his word Kasich will “break the back” of the teachers’ unions in Ohio when other labor bargaining units get theirs and teachers don’t. It will be a lonely, losing battle for educators in Ohio while their union brethren fight to pick up what crumbs Kasich and the GOP sweep from the table to them.

    Privatizing police and fire services is too difficult and there is no “white hat” cash waiting in the wings from a private entity waiting to scoop up police and fire “charters” like there is from those who will enrich themselves while they dismantle public education in Ohio.

    The Kasic-GOP strategy has been “divide and conquer” and it looks as if it will work. Say goodbye to public education in Ohio. That ship is sailing now.

  • FrancisnStar

    “ARROGANCE” SPEAKS FOR ITSELF
    During a speech before Ashtabula County Republicans in March 2009, Kasich talked about the need to “break the back of organized labor in the schools,” according to the Ashtabula Star Beacon.[47] Ohio’s teachers’ unions supported Democrat Ted Strickland, and after Kasich’s gubernatorial victory, he said, “I am waiting for the teachers’ unions to take out full-page ads in all the major newspapers, apologizing for what they had to say about me during this campaign.”[48]
    Elsewhere, he said he was willing to work with “unions that make things.” [49]
    If you want to “BREAK THE BACK” of one, you want to “BREAK THE BACK” of all!

  • FrancisnStar

    “ARROGANCE” SPEAKS FOR ITSELF
    During a speech before Ashtabula County Republicans in March 2009, Kasich talked about the need to “break the back of organized labor in the schools,” according to the Ashtabula Star Beacon.[47] Ohio’s teachers’ unions supported Democrat Ted Strickland, and after Kasich’s gubernatorial victory, he said, “I am waiting for the teachers’ unions to take out full-page ads in all the major newspapers, apologizing for what they had to say about me during this campaign.”[48]
    Elsewhere, he said he was willing to work with “unions that make things.” [49]
    If you want to “BREAK THE BACK” of one, you want to “BREAK THE BACK” of all!

  • Annekarima

    You have to have jobs – be well employed – for money for that. Kasich has yet to prove where the jobs are.

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    passing the buck from Kasich breaking the backs of unions to “allowing voters to vote on final contracts” hahahaha if they wont allow the public to vote on their raises –why would we ?
    by allowing the voters to decided on contracts that leaves management responsible AND to blame when the contracts arent passed
    well I hope that if they make this a “right to work state” they put in IF you dont pay dues then you dont get what the union bargins for in benefits and raises etc
    to me thats unfair why should no-dues folks get what we as dues paying employees bargin for — let them do the merit raise route!
    I would like to see the breaking of drawing the new districts borders backs– I would like to see bigger districts drawn so we dont need so many legislators– wonder how much money that would save ……..

  • PublicEmployeesUnited

    You are wrong, Natasha. We will not be divided! We know their game. They tried to do the same thing in Wisconsin, and they could not divide the workers. In the end, they had to carry out their pleasures with illegal maneuvers carried out under the cover of darkness. We will stand together, especially with the referendum and in the next election.

  • MetalMedic

    Five Statewide unions… and in a couple of those unions are separate bargaining units…. so that could result in up to a dozen general elections to decide a contract that affects a few hundred employees. Oh yeh, that would be a great way to save money…. this bill is JUNK!

  • Guest

    The problem is the radical TGOP don’t have minds or hearts only ideology to drive the. Their resemblance to human beings is purely accidental. Nice to know that they can be replaced now that more people are onto their game, the 100% of nothing for us game.

  • Guest

    The problem is the radical TGOP don’t have minds or hearts only ideology to drive the. Their resemblance to human beings is purely accidental. Nice to know that they can be replaced now that more people are onto their game, the 100% of nothing for us game.

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