Tuesday is election day. Ohioans will be going to the polls to hopefully overturn Senate Bill 5, the massive over reach by cheap labor conservatives to punch unions and public employees as the GOP tries to further enrich their wealthy check signers. Here are a few last minute notes to support voting NO on Issue 2.
Governor Kasich and his party have absolutely no respect for the public employees who work hard serving the state and local areas.
GOP state Rep. Lou Blessing — a prominent Republican voice in this fight, as the Speaker Pro Tempore of the Ohio House of Representatives — made the claim during an interview with Ohio public radio, audio of which is right here. Pressed on why he and some other GOPers wouldn’t agree to labor’s insistence that legislators also accept a pay cut, he said:
“Because it’s not merited. I earn my pay. I think that was just political baloney. So they can say in an ad, ‘Gee , you know, they didn’t support a pay cut.’ Well, no, I don’t support a pay cut. Republicans earn their money. Apparently Democrats don’t. They feel they should be paid less. That may be true. Maybe we’ll just cut the Democrats’ pay.”
Public employees are being blamed for current money issues at the state and local level when budget cuts at the state level have done more to hurt local governments – not “excessive” employee pay.
First, no one forced either side to sign these contracts; they were all duly negotiated and agreed upon by both unions and public officials. Second, public workers didn’t cause the recession that is creating much of Ohio’s current financial woes. And, third, public workers already have given hundreds of millions of dollars in concessions to help government officials balance the books.
A more plausible cause for some of the current money troubles is the response by Gov. John Kasich and Republican legislators to a massive state budget deficit: They cut $1.4?billion in funding for local governments, including schools, merely passing part of the state’s budget problem “down hill.”
During the campaign, Kasich said he wanted to “break the backs” of teachers unions, and it was his office that pushed for controversial late additions to Senate Bill 5 that put obstacles in the way of union organizing, dues collection and political contributions — viewed by public-workers unions as a death knell to their existence.
Issue 2 advocates have emphasized two sections of Senate Bill 5: One that forbids government employers from picking up any of the 10 percent employees are supposed to contribute toward their pension, and another requiring that workers pay at least 15 percent of their health-care costs.
The “pension pickups” are not provided to 93 percent of public employees, and many who benefit from them (such as superintendents and other school administrators) are not union workers. While this sounds like a sweet perk, in many cases this pickup was awarded in lieu of a pay increase. And what many taxpayers may not realize is that an increase of 2 percent in pay ends up costing more (because of overtime and other factors) than a 2 percent bump in the pension pickup.
The health-care threshold already is met by all state employees, and local-government workers are increasingly paying a greater share.
In what must come as a surprise to Mandel, Ohio’s teachers, police, firefighters, and even veterans feel slighted — not respected — by this bill. SB5 strips unions of the right to negotiate wages, eliminates pay increases, and completely bans the right to strike. As public officials and unions both note, teachers and safety forces have already made substantial sacrifices — including zero pay raises and paying more for health insurance — to accommodate the tough economy.
As the Marion, Ohio Chief of Police Thomas Bell noted in an op-ed today, his police officers “already pay more than 20 percent of their health care” and traded the city pension “pick-ups” for actual pay raises. Noting that the cuts don’t actually apply to the public officials who created the law, Bell said safety forces “cannot continue to do more with less without tragic results”
The pro Issue 2 side have been less than truthful about the issue. One is the claim that public employees are over paid. The other concerns the current arbitration rules. Governor Kasich claimed that out of state arbitrators can impose a settlement in labor disputes. Politifact Ohio gave that claim a rare “pants-on-fire” untruth verdict:
“The fact remains an out-of-state mediator cannot resolve disputes under the state’s rules for binding arbitration – and that is the specific process Kasich has repeatedly criticized. And citing a procedure seldom used by safety forces, who are covered by the binding arbitration rules, doesn’t make this claim more accurate.
And as the state government’s chief executive and leading spokesman for reforming the state’s collective bargaining rules for public employees, Kasich should know that.”
Finally, during the campaign for Governor, John Kasich said the following:
John Kasich tells a crowd at the Statehouse that those who work hard, sacrifice, and play by the rules should not be punished by those in Washington or Columbus. Punishing those who do so would be “Un-American” and not a value he grew up with.
The case is clear. Senate Bill 5 is a terrible law, rammed though the statehouse to settle old scores and fatten the wallets of friends of the cheap labor conservatives. Vote NO on Issue 2.
No matter how you vote, please exercise your right and vote on November 8th.