On Thursday, union bosses found themselves beating to the sound of a different drummer as Ohio’s taxpayers won a reprieve from the same old union song and dance as Governor John Kasich signed SB5 into law. As many have stated on numerous occasions, government unions have spent many years perfecting a system of backing political candidates who get elected with union money and resources, then once in office reward those very unions at the expense of the taxpayers. Well, in Ohio, government unions gaming the system just got severely limited.
While both laws [Wisconsin’s and Ohio’s] severely limit public employees’ ability to bargain collectively — they both prohibit any bargaining over health coverage and pensions — the Ohio law largely eliminates bargaining for the police and firefighters. Wisconsin’s law leaves those two groups’ bargaining rights untouched. Ohio’s law also gives city councils and school boards a free hand to unilaterally impose their side’s final contract offer when management and union fail to reach a settlement.
State Senator Shannon Jones, a Republican and chief sponsor of the Ohio law, said curbing collective bargaining made sense when so many states, cities, counties and school districts faced daunting budget deficits. She said the law would help public employers hold down compensation costs, especially soaring health and pension costs, as a way to minimize any layoffs and reductions in public services, whether police patrols or garbage collections.
“The economy has changed fundamentally,” Ms. Jones said. “Not only families and business have to change to adapt to tougher economic circumstances, but governments have to adapt, too.”
As Huffington Post noted, Democrats offered nothing more than protests all the way up to the time the law was signed.
Democrats opposed the measure but offered no amendments to it. Instead, they delivered boxes containing more than 65,000 opponent signatures to the House labor committee’s chairman.
Unions, on the other hand, have vowed to fight the new law by gathering enough signatures to put it on the November ballot. That is, if they can gather 230,000 valid signatures within 90 days.
Until then, enjoy the music, taxpayers. You deserve a break.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776