Cleveland State Senator Kenny Yuko introduced a workers rights bill on Thursday.   Sadly, the bill might be dead on arrival given the the track record of Gov. John Kasich and the Republican-led General Assemblies who have advanced his top-down, corporate agenda.

The bill, Senate Bill 25, raises the minimum wage and improves workers’ rights in Ohio. Even a drunk Las Vegas odds maker suffering from Alzheimers would give the chances of this bill getting a second hearing, much less find a worm hole out of committee, zero odds.

But as bad as the bill’s odds are of going any further, the good news is it was granted a sponsor hearing, at which Sen. Yuko, who served multiple terms in the House before moving to the Senate, said about his legislation, “This bill takes a dramatic, but necessary, step forward in ensuring hardworking Ohioans are paid and treated fairly. The protections provided in Senate Bill 25 will lift Ohioans out of poverty, provide an incentive for hiring of additional middle class workers, and allow salaried workers to better balance work and family.”

Dubbed “The Ohio Worker’s Rights Act”, SB 25 represents a multi-pronged approach to improving worker’s rights in Ohio, and is a priority for the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus for the 131st General Assembly. The main components of this legislation, according to information supplied by Sen. Yuko’s office, include:

  • A raise in the minimum wage.
  • Increased overtime protection.
  • Measures that would prevent employee misclassification.
  • Would raise Ohio’s minimum wage from $8.10 to $10.10 an hour, adjusting to changes in inflation each year.
  • Increases overtime protection compensation from $23,000 to $50,000 in the first year, then to $69,000 in the following years.
  • Creates a more uniform definition of what constitutes an employee.
  • Provides further protections against employers benefiting, at the expense of the employees, off of the misclassification of their workers.

States that protect their workers protect themselves, Sen. Yuko, said in prepared remarks. He added, These are not new ideas- these are ideas that have been implemented in other states, and they are seeing results. People working 40 hours a week should not live in poverty, it’s that simple,” he said. “We are doing a disservice to our working low and middle class families, who are without a doubt the ones most in need. It’s an absolute shame.”

Republican lawmakers who came to agreement in the wee hours of yesterday morning on a final budget to send to Gov. Kasich showed in what they agreed on that any one of the SB 25’s key provisions just won’t meet their ideological cut standards. Gov. John Kasich, who’s out campaigning for president based on his track record in congress for 18 years and four and one-half so far as Ohio’s chief executive, just rescinded by executive order the ability for home health care providers to form a union to organize for health care, saying Obamacare is available to them.

Ohio’s lucky it hasn’t already put into law one of several bills introduced in this General Assembly and previous ones that would turn it into another right to work state. Unions are arrangements the governor doesn’t like much, as Mr. Kasich’s press secretary said of them in the wake of disabling home healthcare aides. The Republican legislature, which Ohio has endured from 1994 to today, with the exception of a two-year period from 2008-2010 when Democrats held administrative control of the Ohio House, rarely accepts Democratic amendments, and demonstrated their distaste for negotiating by failing to add even one of hundreds offered in the budget process.

It’s good that Sen. Yuko got his day in committee to make his points and speak out for workers and their rights. It shouldn’t come as any surprise to those who watch Capital Square that SB 25 may not have a second hearing. Why? DOA.