Despite thousands of public employees descending upon the Statehouse in protest for three weeks, the Ohio Senate narrowly passed Senate Bill 5, the collective bargaining reform measure introduced by Senator Shannon Jones (R-Springboro). The measure received a total of 22 hours of testimony in the Senate Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee from over 100 witnesses. The original version of the bill prohibited state employees from collectively bargaining, replaced state employee salary schedules and step increases with merit pay. It also made changes affecting public employee benefits, along with limiting local employee collective bargaining rights. Committee hearings culminated in a 99-page omnibus amendment that pulled back on some of the original provisions. Among other changes, the amendment restored limited collective bargaining rights as well as certain management rights; abolished the right to strike for all public employees; and replaced existing law on work stoppages and binding arbitration with a progressive "dispute settlement" process that would resolve terms of employment through a mediator, a fact-finder, and finally a hearing panel representing management, if needed.
After a party line vote in the committee, the full Senate took on the measure and passed the measure by a vote of 17-16. Six Republicans joined all 10 of the Senate Democrats in voting against SB5. They included Senators Tim Grendell (R-Chesterland), Jim Hughes (R-Columbus), Gayle Manning (R-N. Ridgeville), Scott Oelslager (R-Canton), Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) and Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati). Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder (R-Medina) has promised "extensive hearings" - with the House Commerce and Labor Committee possibly meeting as many as five days a week "in order to handle the matter and move on."