It is impossible for me to accept that the process of collective bargaining and union membership has changed from actually being inserted into legislation to being reviled in a mere four years.  Senate Bill 5 has set out to demonize organized labor in Ohio, with the target squarely on the backs of public sector workers.  And those knives keep getting shoved in deeper and deeper, especially when we learn that the very same legislators that are throwing unions under the bus voted to support collective bargaining and unions in the 2007 State Budget bill (HB119) with a near unanimous vote (96-1 in House, 33-0 in Senate).  By comparison, Democrats were unable to support the drastic changes in this year’s Republican Budget, so the bill passed on straight party-line votes (59-40 in House, 23-10 in Senate).

And it’s not like 2007 was a banner year for Ohio.  While the national recession has an “official” starting date of December, 2007, Ohio’s unemployment had been falling throughout Bob Taft’s entire term as Governor, and Ted Strickland was in his first year trying to clean up the mess, and the Federal Stimulus package was over a year away.

So, with what we have learned this year, and seeing the correction that Governor Strickland and the legislature made, we could presume that in the 2007 Budget, they tried to “break the backs of organized labor,” right?

Obviously we know they didn’t or 2011 wouldn’t have turned out so exciting!

In fact, not only did the legislature NOT try to eliminate unions and collective bargaining, they actually reaffirmed it in the existing law AND inserted new language in to the bill during the process that actually reaffirmed the legitimacy of employee organizing.  The House passed their version in a unanimous 97-0 floor vote and the Senate followed with their own unanimous 33-0 tally.  Only when the differing versions came out of committee did the versions receive a single no vote from Representative Fessler.

In 2007, for example, HB119 co-sponsor, Representative Shannon Jones, voted in favor of the deletion of the following text from Section 4117.03:

(2) During collective bargaining, employees of public schools may agree to pay a higher percentage of the premium for health benefit coverage under the plans designed by the school employees health care board pursuant to section 9.901 of the Revised Code than the percentage designated as the employees’ contribution level by the board. A collective bargaining agreement, however, shall not permit the employees to contribute a lesser percentage of the premium than that set as the employees’ contribution level by the school employees health care board, unless, in so doing, the participating school board is able to remain in compliance with the aggregate goal set pursuant to division (G)(3) of section 9.901 of the Revised Code.

Again, that was DELETED.  Language that permitted public school employees to negotiate for higher premiums and did not permit those employees to contribute a lesser amount was removed, meaning that the General Assembly (129-1 vote) believed that public school employees SHOULD NOT contribute a greater amount to their health care coverage.  Did I mention that current Senate President Niehaus was on the conference committee that sorted out the final language?

Also in Section 4117.03 of HB 119 in 2007, a reaffirmation of a public school employee’s right to bargain for health care that was favor by Jones and Niehaus in 2007:

(E) Employees of public schools may bargain collectively for health care benefits; however, all health care benefits shall include best practices prescribed by the school employees health care board, in accordance with section 9.901 of the Revised Code.

That exact language would be cut 4 years later by Senator Shannon Jones in SB5:

(E) Employees of public schools may bargain collectively for healthcare benefits; however, all health care benefits shall include best practicesprescribed by the school employees health care board, in accordance withsection 9.901 of the Revised Code.

There’s more.  In 2007, Jones was joined by Senators Amstutz, Faber, Schaffer, and Niehaus as they voted to allow public employees the right to bargain on the the “continuation, modification, or deletion of an existing provision of a collective bargaining agreement” and then did an about face as they joined together to eliminate that choice in SB5:

Sec. 4117.03   (4) Bargain collectively with their public employers to determine wages, hours, terms and other conditions of employment and the continuation, modification, or deletion of an existing provision of a collective bargaining agreement, and enter into collective bargaining agreements;

And strangely, while the 2007 General Assembly unanimously favored salary schedules as specified in Section 124.152 of Ohio Revised Code during a period of a declining economy, the 2011 General Assembly narrowly voted to replace these schedules with the still-undefined “performance pay.”  If this idea of a prescribed salary schedule was so completely throwing off Ohio’s economy and is an outdated process today, wouldn’t it have been outdated in 2007?  And shouldn’t the leaders who are supporting it today have been outspoken about it then as the Democratic legislators are today?

Instead, every Republican supported this language (even Rep. Fessler voted “yes” in the House version) merely 4 years ago.  In fact, not only did they support it, many are listed as co-sponsors.

 

The highlighted names represent those Republicans who co-sponsored the 2007 Budget Bill and were still around to vote on Senate Bill 5.  Of the 19, only 4, Grendell, Patton, , Gardner, and McGregor [omitted from original post]maintained their integrity and voted for what they had already demonstrated years before – that collective bargaining is not the cause of the economic downturn.

As for the other sixteen co-sponsors, most notably Shannon Jones and Tom Niehaus?  We can only ponder what has occurred in their lives that has caused them to so blatantly contradict themselves on such a major issue.

In 2007, we have every Republican voting in favor of a budget that includes the support of public sector unions and collective bargaining rights.

In 2011, we have every Democrat standing by their principles and voting against a bill promoted by many of those same whichever-way-the-wind-blows-the-money Republicans that does a complete turnaround and falsely blames these very public sector unions for Ohio’s economic problems.

Who will you trust?

 

 

 
  • Random Thoughts

    Nothing much to say except “Wow!”

    I’ve done so much head-scratching this year, I’m surprised I have any hair left.

  • Guest

    I’m continually infuriated at this governor and his little duckling falling in line.  This really fires me up.  I’m at a loss for words.

    On a positive note, over the weekend I was speaking to a few of my ULTRA-conservative friends in historically ultra-conservative communities.  They are ultra-disenchanted with the republican representation in Columbus.  They said they’d consider voting more moderate/liberal, which is HUGE for them.  I must admit, my mouth full-open dropped when I heard my boyfriend’s mother call Kasich an idiot.  She’s historically been on the right for decades and not budged till now.   This fall and next fall could be very interesting!!

  • Rgtmwlly

    They learned their lesson.

  • FredDavis

    This post is idiotic.  The budget bill contains thousands of issues.  Because one person supports the budget bill does not mean they endorse every single item in that budget.  If someone were to refuse to back a budget because of one minor provision, that person would probably be either really stubborn or an idiot.  You either don’t understand the budget process or you’re intentionally misleading your readers.  I’m guessing the latter.

  • Danramos85

    You might want to add McGregor to the list that kept his integrity. Rep. McGregor voted against sb 5 as it left the house.

  • Guest

    Fred, are you sure you’re not really John Kasich?  I mean, your use of variations of the word ‘idiot’ strongly resembles King John  himself.  Things that make you go ‘hmmm’.  

  • gmild

    Thanks for the heads up — he has been added.

  • Anastasjoy

    Jackson just destroyed his career and the city schools of Cleveland. There’s no way the best teachers stay in Cleveland with these provisions in effect. The only teachers who will teach this challenged population are those with no choice and those way too dedicated to care what happens to them or their job. Jackson proved he is a fool. I suspect Kasich offered him some kind of funding carrot for this – and I wouldn’t be surprised if Kasich snatches it away. When you lie down with rattlesnakes, you get bitten.

  • gmild

    I suppose you should have shared this important detail with the 11 Senators who voted against the budget today, especially Oelslager who voted against his party. I’m sure those stubborn idiots don’t understand the process like you do.

  • Anonymous

    well fred, SB5 isn’t exactly a “minor provision” now is it? Any bit of it that creeped into the budget will be just as noteworthy as the bill itself. I love how kasich and crew are trying so hard to circumvent the will of the people. That should make some tea party people mad, if they really stood for anything .

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    Amen !!!

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    Well..  they needed the votes of these people to get elected — well Ms Jones did anyway.. and yes all politicians do this sort of thing, BUT not if they want to serve more than one term. The folks that supported her may not be around for her next time. A double cross is just that a double cross!  She lives in a small place…..need I say more. 

  • Unhappy Citizen

    The incompetence of these people, that are supposed to be our state leaders and the model of intelligence and what our next generations should look up to, astounds me. And I’m thirteen years old.

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