Ohio Republicans, who now control both the House and Senate in the Ohio General Assembly and all statewide offices, introduced legislation in the Senate this week that will drastically change Ohio's 27-year-old collective bargaining law. Senator Shannon Jones (R-Springboro) is one of the sponsors of the 476 page bill, which, among other items, seeks to:
- eliminate salary schedules and step increases for state workers;
- base pay raises on merit;
- decrease the importance of seniority as a factor in layoffs;
- increase the amount that state workers must pay for health insurance premiums; and
- eliminate binding arbitration for police and firefighters when they cannot reach agreement on contracts with local governmental entities.
This proposed legislation sets up a confrontation with the large state unions and representatives of police and firefighter unions who were quite vocal in their disapproval. A hearing this past week in Columbus drew a large crowd which included Governor John Kasich, who is on record as being critical of the present collective bargaining law. Additional public hearings will be scheduled in the next few months.