The headline on our last post certainly seems apt now. A battle truly has erupted -- and not just here in Ohio -- over the issue of public sector employee collective bargaining rights. Wisconsin also confronts the issue; coverage of that dispute is easy enough to come by, but here is a recent example. Michigan, however, appears set to stay out of the fray. The issue has even garnered President Obama's attention.
Here in Ohio, the hearings on Senator Jones' bill continue, as do the mass crowds at the Statehouse. Supporters and opponents of the bill have testified. Supporters tell the Senate committee, among other things, that the bill provides needed flexibility in the management of their workforces, helps address looming budget problems, and addresses imbalances of power between unions and the public employers. Opponents of the bill tell the committee, among other things, that the law isn't needed and that concessions have already been made.
While the back and forth is certainly an interesting case study in politics, the labor professional will want to remain focused on what is actually in the bill. And so far, that hasn't changed. Despite invitations to unions during the hearings to provide suggested changes to the bill, no amendments have yet been proposed.
For an excellent summary of the content of the bill, check out the bill analysis (pdf) prepared by the Ohio Legislative Services Commission. The Commission is a non-partisan state agency that is part of the General Assembly. As the legislative process continues, monitoring what is actually in the bill will help the labor professional plan for future developments.