Back in March, Kasich’s newly-appointed Deputy Communications Director Jon Keeling was looking to impress his boss and he had a great idea: find some examples of outrageous and egregious labor agreements between Ohio’s public workers and the state that will help prove Kasich’s anti-worker and anti-union agenda is the right path to save the state money and put those nasty union thugs (e.g. teachers, police officers, fire fighters, etc) in their place.
So Jon called up Pieter Wykoff at the Department of Administrative Services and asked him to find some examples.
Wykoff sent the request to Mike Duco, the Deputy Director at the Office of Collective bargaining, a division of the Department of Administrative Services that “serves as the principle representative of the State as an employer and negotiates all of the State’s labor contracts.”
According to records obtained by Plunderbund it appears that the governor’s office was looking for specific examples where collective bargaining resulted in over paid civil servants, higher-quality employees being fired for lack of seniority or layoffs resulting from collectively bargained contracts in which public unions refused to make concessions in the face of a budget crunch.
Mike Duco, in an email obtained by Plunderbund, politely informed Wykoff and Keeling that it would be difficult for him to come up with specific examples. Ohio’s public employees, according to Duco, were more than willing to step up and make concessions to help the state cut costs when Governor Strickland was dealing with the last state budget deficit. According to Duco, Ohio doesn’t have “many outrageous stories since we implemented Furlough days and got concessions in health care which allowed us not to lay-off a bunch of people in the recession.”
Deputy Director Michael Duco provided a reasoned, non-political response to Keeling’s overtly political request. He offered to help the administration with their anti-union witch hunt, but he also made it clear – in no uncertain terms – that Ohio’s public unions have been a willing and responsive partner in collective bargaining negotiations. And he provided a long list of specific examples
Our experience with our work force has been that they have taken concessions in an effort to avoid lay-offs. Last round:
1. we signed three year contracts with no general wage increases
2. we froze automatic steps for two years
3. we implemented a 3.8 % decrease for two consecutive years by furloughs (CSDs)
4. we froze Personal leave and its annual conversion for two years and
5. we cost shifted 28.5 million from the state to employees by changing the design of our Health Plan and dependent audit.
Duco recognizes what Kasich hopes everyone else in the state forgets: In dealing with the financial crisis during the last budget cycle, Governor Strickland was able to work WITH public unions WITH existing collective bargaining rights in place to cut costs WITHOUT the need for extreme, radical, anti-union legislation like SB5.
Kasich and his team go looking for examples of public employees gaining exorbitant, excessive benefits from their existing collective bargaining rights. They approach the people most knowledgeable about collective bargaining for the state – the people who are statutorily responsible for negotiating all of the state’s labor contracts – and instead of a list of outrageous union benefits they end up with a long list of broad concessions that have already been willingly made by the unions in order to save the state money.
Kasich and his team want you to believe Senate Bill 5 is the only way to save Ohio from public sector union thugs whose exorbitant pay and benefits are bankrupting the state.
Kasich’s own experts disagree.