Here's some hopeful news in Ohio. As Dave Dayden noted, with the protests spreading to other states with these union busting bills being pushed through, it's possible they're doing some good.
Wisconsin remains the main battleground for the broader assault on worker’s rights. But elsewhere in the Big Ten states and across the country, these battles have moved forward. In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich is pushing pretty much the exact same bill as Scott Walker in Wisconsin. Known as SB 5, the bill would strip collective bargaining rights from Ohio public employees. SB 5 is a piece of legislation, so Kasich isn’t trying to implement this under the cover of a budget bill. However, he has said that if he doesn’t get what he wants out of SB 5, he will put those items into the next budget bill. Alternatively, this could go to the ballot. So SB 5 won’t be the last showdown. The Governor, aping Scott Walker, claims this is a fiscal issue, but nobody can explain how much money SB 5 would save.
Yesterday, we wrote about the Columbus Dispatch’s story that indicated that there are seven Republican Senators on the fence on SB 7, enough that if they don’t support the bill could defeat it. Well, I failed to note another key aspect. If the GOP doesn’t get these members on board, they may not even be able to pass SB 5 out of committee.
The Republicans have an 8-4 majority on the Senate Insurance, Commerce, and Labor Committee. However, three of the Republicans on the Committee are Senators Bill Seitz, Bill Beagle, and Jim Hughes.
These just happen to be three of the seven Senators the Dispatch identified as saying that SB 5, as it currently stands, goes too far and they are on the fence over supporting.
So if the GOP cannot get one of these three on board (either by partisan arm twisting or amending the bill), the GOP doesn’t have the votes to approve the bill out of committee.
Ohio Governor Kasich appeared on CNN tonight and is still trying to claim that SB5 is not really about busting the unions. Uh huh. Sure it's not. As Robert Reich wrote yesterday, this is part of an organized strategy by the GOP to destroy what's left of the middle class.
Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Monday proposed curbs on the collective-bargaining rights for public employees in the state is to "restore some balance to the system," not destroy unions.
"It's right for them to be able to negotiate their own salary," Kasich said in an interview with CNN, "but we need to let managers be able to determine things like keeping the pension systems healthy, making sure that that the costs related to health care are consistent with private sector workers."
The Ohio General Assembly is a considering a proposal similar to legislation introduced by Republican Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin that would roll back collective-bargaining rights for public employees, including teachers.
The Ohio proposal was was introduced by a Republican state senator. Like Walker's bill, the Ohio measure has generated protests from public employees' unions in that state.
Senate Bill 5 would eliminate tenure as a consideration in deciding who gets laid off. It would also require employees to pay 20% of their health insurance premiums and implement merit-based pay for some government workers.
Critics of the legislation say the bill not only undercuts workers' rights, it also fails to address systemic deficit problems. The bill drew crowds of protesters to the state capitol lin Columbus ast week to demonstrate against it.