In today’s Columbus Dispatch:
"I and several of my fellow colleagues are in favor of a right-to-work state. Unfortunately, that’s not what this bill does, but it sets the framework for conversations later on."- House Commerce and Labor Chairman Joe Uecker (R-Loveland)
Chairman Uecker finally admitted what the Republicans have long denied, that SB 5 is not about the State budget, it’s not about giving local government more flexibility, it’s about setting the stage to end organized labor in Ohio entirely. And this comes from Joe Uecker, a former police officer.
A political gaffe has been said to be when a politician says something publicly that they privately believed to be true. It’s a political Freudian slip, when you meant to say one thing, but said your mother.
In one quote, Joe Uecker confirmed everything that the Republicans for months have been adamantly denying, including Governor Kasich. On the eve of his own committee’s vote and a contentious debate, what Chairman Uecker did was throw gasoline on what was already a political explosive matter.
And then there are the changes the Dispatch says Uecker’s committee is expected to make today.
First, there’s the good changes:
- Ensuring that workers who strike illegally are not subject to jail time;
- Clarifying that safety forces can bargain for equipment;
- Eliminating the bill’s current prohibition against employees speaking to public officials during negotiations. Some lawmakers raised First Amendment concerns about the issue;
- Specifying that traffic-ticket quotas cannot be part of merit reviews for law enforcement.
- Ensuring the bill does not negatively impact death benefits for family members of those killed in the line of duty.
Now, the bad changes:
- In addition to keeping the Senate’s provision that would allow the government to decide whether to take it’s last best offer or the unions, the bill adds a limited voter veto power that would only give them“the ability to reject the contract if elected leaders pick an option that could not be paid for without a tax increase;”
- The bill will prohibit collective bargaining agreements from having any provision that requirement the collection of “fair share” dues, money that is collected from non-union employees who benefit from the collective bargaining agreement but are not members of the union. The amount collected only goes to cover the costs of the negotiation and enforcement of the contract.
- [UPDATE:] The Legislative Service Commission has indicated that the new SB 5 bill would prohibit collective bargaining agreements to allow for the payroll deduction to labor’s political action committees. Nuclear clause.
This last provision has nothing to do with budgets or giving local government’s flexibility to bend over easier for John Kasich’s budget cuts. And the basis the Republicans are using to justify it is laughably pathetic:
Uecker said his committee heard from at least one public worker who objected to how the union was spending dues in the political arena. "There is a lot to this concept of not being required to have money confiscated for purposes you don’t believe in," he said.
Rep. Louis Blessing, R-Cincinnati, said existing law already says that no employee can be forced to join a union. "If that’s true, why should they be forced to pay anything?"
I have to pay taxes which goes to fund Uecker and Blessing and everything in John Kasich’s budget for things I don’t believe in. Where’s my opt-out protection. By the way, the money, again, doesn’t fund labor’s political activities, just the collective bargaining agreement that the non-union employee benefits from. Why are they forced to pay? Because it’s call freeloading. You don’t get to benefit from the system without being expected to help cover the costs of obtaining those benefits for you.
(In other news, in GOPland, apparently one person is persuasive enough to change a bill but thousands are not persuasive enough to kill it.)
The House GOP managed to make a bad bill and make it worse. I cannot imagine how Bill Seitz or Tim Grendell could vote for this bill now. Nor can I believe how a Frank LaRose or Karen Gillmor could possible continue to support this bill.
The House GOP just made the referendum easier, not harder. Their alternative to binding arbitration turns collective bargaining into collective begging.