Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ohio Set To Enact Anti-Union Bill

Ohio The Ohio Senate (by one vote) has passed a far-reaching anti-union bill, which has already passed the House and that the governor is expect to sign soon.  A recent story in the New York Times by Steven Greenhouse summarizes the bill:

The bill would bar public employees from striking and would prohibit binding arbitration for police officers and firefighters. It would allow bargaining over wages, but not health coverage and pensions and would allow public-employee unions to bargain only when the public employer chose to do so. . . .

Under the Ohio bill, when there is public-sector bargaining and management and union fail to reach a settlement, the legislative body, such as a county or school board, would make the final decision on what offer to accept. But if the legislative body refrains from selecting either side’s last best offer, the public employer’s last offer would become the agreement between the parties. . . .

The bill would allow public employees who are covered by union contracts but who choose not to belong to the union to opt out of paying union dues or fees. The bill would also bar any governmental unit in Ohio from deducting any part of a worker’s paycheck and giving it to the union for political activities unless the worker gave express permission.

The bill would bar any union contract that limited a public employer’s ability to privatize operations. It eliminates statutory schedules and steps that automatically increase salaries year by year, and it bars seniority, by itself, from determining who is to be laid off. . . .

Under the bill, if a public employer chose the costlier of two final offers from management and union and that choice forced a community to raise taxes, then voters would be given the opportunity to overturn the contract through a referendum.

The article also quotes Jim Brudney (OSU, soon to be Fordham), who said that:

the bill effectively crippled collective bargaining. “There’s a kind of mask or illusion element in this,” he said. “The essence of collective bargaining is when you can’t agree on terms of a contract, you have a dispute resolution mechanism, by strikes or perhaps binding arbitration. Here, you have none of that. That’s not collective bargaining. I’d call it collective begging. It’s a conversation that ends whenever an employer decides that it ends.”


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Jim Brudney is exactly right. Fortunately, the bill has produced a significant backlash. Our governor's approval ratings are at record lows, and there is a move to repeal this law by ballot initiative.

Posted by: Joseph Slater | Mar 31, 2011 5:11:07 AM

To the extent that he has it right at all, Joseph, it's MONOPOLY begging, not "collective begging."

Of course, monopolies bad; must use less threatening euphemism.

Posted by: James Young | Apr 5, 2011 10:09:10 AM

James: Call it what you will but it is deemed collective bargaining by about every statute in the land. Additionally, even foes of collective bargaining such as Scott Walker and John Kasich refer to it as collective bargaining.

Your continuous attempts to rename what is a well-defined term (not a euphemism) are purely academic.

Posted by: Per Son | Apr 6, 2011 5:46:34 AM

James: I know I will never convince you that your use of the term "monopoly" is comically wrong, so I will just say this. I hope the Ohio voters get a chance to give their opinion on this in a ballot initiative.

Posted by: Joseph Slater | Apr 6, 2011 6:25:49 AM

"Comically," Joseph? Yeah. That's why the Congress passed Section 6 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 17, creating an exemption..

What is truly comical is the efforts of partisans for labor unions to deny the nature of their behavior. When it is done at the expense of intellectual honesty, one has to wonder whether what is going on can be called an academic exercise.

Posted by: James Young | Apr 8, 2011 2:58:36 PM

Oh come now, who's being intellectually dishonest now. As you no doubt know James, antitrust behavior does not require a monopoly.

Posted by: Jeff Hirsch | Apr 8, 2011 4:23:06 PM

Hardly, Jeff. And what part of "EXCLUSIVE representation" don't you understand?

Posted by: James Young | Apr 8, 2011 4:49:19 PM

I'm referring to your citation to Section 117 which, despite what you suggested, doesn't mean that unions are necessarily monopolistic. Indeed, if they currently did have monopolistic power they'd be a heck of a lot stronger than they are.

Posted by: Jeff Hirsch | Apr 8, 2011 10:22:35 PM

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