Like the rest of the state, country and world, Toledo faced a budget crisis last year. To help save money, Mayor Mike Bell and the city council worked with the unions representing city workers to temporarily override existing, collectively-bargained union contracts.

One group, the Toledo Police command officers, was forced to accept SB5-like changes to their health and pension benefits. The union fought against the changes and took their case to the State Employment Relations Board, which ruled in favor of the city.

Under the “exigent circumstances” imposed by the city, command officers were required “to pay their 10 percent share of the pension contribution and make an increased payment towards health insurance costs.”

Mayor Bell announced today that revenues are up 7% this year – effectively saying the previous budget crisis is over – and he will recommend to the Council that they end the “exigent circumstances” and restore the officers to their original, collectively-bargained contract.

Despite the fact that Toledo Mayor Mike Bell is the only big-city mayor in Ohio to endorse Senate Bill 5, it seems like he has provided us two perfect examples of why SB5 is not required.

  1. Bell was able to get concessions from the unions to help save the city money in the middle of a financial crisis without the extreme, anti-union measures proposed in SB5. While I disagree with Bell’s choice to force these changes on the police union, he did prove the point that he already has “the tools” in his tool box to help handle potential budget crises.
  2. By reversing the changes – and admitting revenues are rising – Bell is adding to the growing pile of evidence that state and local budgets are not as bad off as SB5-supporters want you to believe providing further proof the budget problems are just an excuse to push through union-busting legislation.
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