Senate Bill 5 on the Verge of Final Passage
Republicans voted Senate Bill 5 (SB-5), the controversial bill that will end most collective bargaining rights for public employees, out of the House Commerce and Labor Committee Tuesday, clearing the way for final votes in the Ohio House and Senate expected Wednesday.
Despite organized efforts by union advocates and Democratic Party coalitions to sway Republican lawmakers on the House committee, SB-5 passed by a party-line vote.
Before passing it Tuesday, House Republicans amended the bill to allow public workers whose colleagues are unionized to opt-out of paying union dues, a controversial move that will drastically cut into union funds. They also added a provision that will let voters resolve labor and contractual disputes between public workers and their employers.
Democratic Senate Minority Leader Capri Cafaro said in a released statement:
“They have made a bad bill even worse.
The changes to Senate Bill 5 are just more window dressing to anti-worker legislation that will have a devastating effect on families and communities across the state.
The amended bill creates more bureaucracy and imposes new mandates by establishing another state commission and forcing local school districts to follow state imposed guidelines for teacher salaries and layoffs.”
Sen. Joe Schiavoni, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee, added:
“Some of the words may have changed but Senate Bill 5 remains a direct attack on worker’s rights.
This legislation would turn collective bargaining into collective begging by tilting the negotiating table entirely in favor of employers. Workers could talk about certain issues but they would not have any leverage. Why are we doing this when polls show that a majority of Ohioans support collective bargaining rights for public employees?
We should be working on balancing the budget and creating jobs for all Ohioans.”
In anticipation of the bill becoming law, Democratic Party and union operatives have already begun planning a campaign to repeal the bill, by filing a referendum on SB-5 to be placed on the 2011 ballot.
According to sources in the Ohio Democratic Party, the AFL-CIO will likely spearhead the campaign.