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Ohio Senate Bill 5

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Ohio Senate Bill 5

Everyone remembers where they were when John F. Kennedy was assassinated or even when John Lennon, Michael Jackson and Elvis died. If Ohio Senate Bill 5 (SB5) is allowed to pass into law you will remember Wednesday March 2, 2011 as the day middle class America died in Ohio. Collective bargaining is an essential and necessary freedom given to Ohio's public workers. Without the ability to negotiate wages, health care benefits, pension pick-ups and other provisions the already declining middle class will all but disappear.

In an effort to lower Ohio's $8 billion debt and improve our economic climate the state government is attempting to disband public sector unions. Ohio Senate Bill 5 is designed to limit the bargaining rights for public workers in the State of Ohio. The public workers include police officers, firefighters, teachers and others. Unions could still exist, but striking would be illegal and there is a limit on what things they could bargain for. Senate Bill 5 will also remove automatic pay increases and introduce a merit-based pay system. Government paid employees will be paid or laid off based on how well they perform, not just based upon how long they have worked. Gov. John Kasich says, "I applaud President Niehaus, Senator Jones and Senator Bacon for their leadership, and I appreciate the courage and resolve members of the Senate have shown in working with me to get Ohio back on track. This is a major step forward in correcting the imbalance between taxpayers and the government unions that work for them. Our state, counties, cities and school districts need the flexibility to reduce their costs and better manage their workforces, and taxpayers deserve to be treated with more fairness. Senate Bill 5 is just one piece of a larger plan to create a jobs-friendly climate in Ohio that is essential to returning prosperity to our state.". (WEWS news staff.web).

The current collective bargaining agreement has been in place for almost 30 years. Under SB5 public employees can still negotiate with employers individually, but they cannot use a union representative to argue for them. This is probably the most controversial part of the bill. It eliminates a lot of freedom of the public workers, and it will cause them to lose some of the privileges that they have earned throughout the last 27 years through collective bargaining. However, this freedom is eliminated because if it were not, it would force the government to pay the public workers more, and make the new merit based system impossible. This would lead to less of a budget cut, therefore less money to compensate for our huge debt.

The elimination of collective bargaining doesn't automatically mean lower costs to taxpayers. Collective bargaining helps resolve differences sooner, prevent strikes and improve training and working conditions, keeping costs down over time. Ohio Senate Bill 5 bans public workers from striking, establishes penalties for striking, including jail time, and establishes a new system for resolving labor disputes. Instead of binding arbitration, the employer's legislative body, such as a city council, would decide whether to side with a union or management. Union officials say the lack of bargaining



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