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Public employee collective bargaining reform necessary at the state and local level

February 13, 2011 J

An editorial in the Columbus Dispatch and an article in today’s Cincinnati Enquirer evidence the need for public employee collective bargaining reform at the state and local level.

A Columbus Dispatch editorial today calls public employee collective bargaining reform “necessary” and says that these laws “deprive public employers — that is, taxpayers — of essential management rights. At the core, they hamper public employers’ ability to decide how much tax money to spend on personnel, which makes up the bulk of most government budgets.” Click here to read the full editorial.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports today that “By squirreling away hundreds of hours of unused holiday, vacation and sick days, more than 900 Cincinnati employees – nearly one in five – may receive at least six months’ extra pay when they retire, costing taxpayers more than $93 million.” It further reports that:

The current situation, particularly with regard to the police and fire contracts, also has its origins in Ohio’s collective bargaining law.

While taking away Ohio police officers’ and firefighters’ right to strike, the 1983 law replaced it with a binding arbitration process used to resolve contract issues that cannot be settled at the negotiating table.

Under the procedure, an arbitrator must choose either the union’s position or the city’s. That rigid guideline, combined with a track record in which arbitrators generally sided with unions, has, city leaders argue, given unions an incentive to pile on demands in negotiations, forcing the city to make concessions to avoid a potentially onerous request reaching arbitration.

“Bottom line, because of Ohio state law, it is not ridiculous for unions to make ridiculous demands,” Cincinnati Human Resources Director Hilary Bohannon told City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. in a memo last year. Click here to read the full article.

We need to support Senate Bill 5 to end collective bargaining for state employees and work to get this crucial reform also extended to local government employees.

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