Earlier this week a Warren County Sheriff’s deputy was killed in the line of duty. The officer, Sergeant Brian Dulle, was hit by the driver of a stolen car while putting down stop sticks.

Two weeks ago three Columbus police officers were shot while while pursuing a murder suspect. Two of those officers were also Sergeants.

These are not isolated incidents. Police sergeants across the state are out in the field, answering calls and facing the same dangers as other officers.

But under Senate Bill 5, officers like these three men – and all police officers with the rank of sergeant and above – would no longer have the right to collectively bargain over their wages, hours or terms and conditions of employment. Because these men are sergeants they would be redefined as “supervisors”, and under SB5 employers are given the right to unilaterally establish all terms and conditions of employment for “supervisors”.

In addition:

  • Bargaining with respect to staffing levels will be prohibited. Experienced supervisors who work on the streets would no longer be allowed to bring issues to the union’s attention because they aren’t a part of the union.
  • Bargaining with respect to past practices within a police department will be prohibited even though front line supervisors have the most knowledge of how things are going and what things are working.
  • There is no longer a right to bargain over the terms of employee health insurance plans.
  • Contractual layoff language based on seniority will be prohibited.
  • Bargaining to include pension contributions as part of a wage package will be prohibited.
  • All negotiations ultimately will be decided by the employer and/or its legislative authority, without any review by a neutral party. This effectively eliminates all rights to “bargain” and converts collective bargaining to collective begging.

While Kasich and other defenders of the bill continue to push the myth that all public employees would still have the right to collectively bargain under Senate Bill 5, it’s clear they are absolutely lying. SB5 prohibits police sergeants and above, and fire lieutenants and above, from being represented by a union, effectively eliminating the right to collectively bargain for many of Ohio’s most experienced first responders.

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