Posts Tagged ‘unions’

Ohio’s Republican-dominated House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that would strip state employees of most collective bargaining rights and ban them from striking, a measure that would make Ohio the largest U.S. state so far to curb the power of unions.

The bill, which passed the House 53 to 44, next goes back to the state Senate for a vote to approve changes made by the House, and would then go to Republican Governor John Kasich for his signature. The state Senate passed a version of the bill earlier this month.

Unions are a key constituency of the Democratic Party.

If the bill is enacted, Ohio would become the most populous U.S. state so far to impose sweeping collective bargaining curbs on public sector unions. The issue has spurred protests in Wisconsin and other states and is likely to be a factor in 2012 U.S. elections.

Wisconsin’s legislature passed a law this month that sharply restricts public sector union bargaining rights, though Democrats have sought to block the law in the courts. Idaho has also passed similar restrictions.

Kasich said Ohio’s bill would put taxpayers and public employees on a more equal footing regarding pay and benefits.

“This is really nothing more than an effort to rebalance the system and make sure that the people who pay the taxes are represented at the table,” Kasich said.

The bill that passed the House removed jail time as a possible penalty for workers who participate in strikes and allows police and firefighters to collectively bargain for safety equipment.


But the modified bill is in other ways tougher on unions. It prevents nonunion employees affected by contracts from paying fees to unions and makes it easier to decertify a union. Democrats decry such measures as proof the bill is a politically motivated attack on unions dressed up as a budget measure.

Senate Democratic Leader Capri Cafaro said the changes “made a bad bill even worse.”

While Wisconsin has gained more national attention, Ohio is far more important to the union movement and the bill would affect some 350,000 workers. It has the sixth-largest number of public sector union members among all U.S. states, twice the number of Wisconsin. With many auto and steel and manufacturing plants, Ohio is also a union bellwether.

Kasich said the bill would give local communities a way to control their costs.

Democratic State Representative Kenny Yuko said Democrats and union members will soon be gathering the 213,000 petition signatures needed for a referendum to give Ohio voters a chance to keep or repeal the law.

(Writing by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Jerry Norton and Andrew Stern)


March 25, 2011

By Sarah Jones

Wisconsin Republicans stunned the nation today when they published Governor Scott Walker’s anti-union bill in seeming violation of a restraining order. The legislation was enjoined from publishing by a judge who ruled that Republicans violated the Open Meeting law when passing it. By publishing their anti-union legislation and turning it into law, Scott Walker and the Republicans may have killed the bill.

Republicans skirted the judge’s order today by having the legislation published by an agency other than the specifically enjoined Secretary of State, claiming that the constitution does not specify which body must publish a law, while Democrats claim that the law must be published by the SOS.

Which body may or must publish the law appears a moot point, given the judge’s specific ruling, wherein it is clear that she is enjoining and restraining the bill in a much broader context than merely the SOS:

The Wisconsin State Journal reported:

An order signed March 18 by Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi bars La Follette from publishing the bill. But as she verbally issued her decision at the end of a hearing the same day, the scope of her order was broader.

“I do, therefore, restrain and enjoin the further implementation of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10,” Sumi said, according to a transcript. “The next step in implementation of that law would be the publication of that law by the secretary of state. He is restrained and enjoined from such publication until further order of this court.”

By attempting to go around the judge’s order, the Republicans violate the spirit of her ruling if not the letter of it. In any case, this won’t be the Wisconsin Republicans first run at violating the law in order to push their anti-union measure through.

It’s obvious from recent events, including the Wisconsin Republicans attempting to intimidate a Professor who wrote a critical article about their actions for the New York Times by demanding his emails through the Wisconsin Open Records law, that the Republicans are desperate. Apparently they are so desperate that they are no longer trying to hide their agenda under the guise of a budget issue, let alone pretend what they are doing is legal.

Read The Rest…

There are people who think Scott Walker would make an ideal candidate for President. I don’t know about everyone else but this man actually scares me more then our current President.

It is a war, started by the unions

Posted: March 13, 2011 in News
Tags: , ,

Patrick McIlheran

“This is war,” panted Michael Moore, the left-wing propagandist, after Gov. Scott Walker’s limits on government unions’ power passed the Senate. Moore sounded eager.

And he’s right. It is war. But look at who’s fighting whom.

The unions say they’re the target because Walker demanded that state workers start paying something toward their retirements and 12.6% of the cost of their health coverage. You think this a good deal; government unions think it’s Pearl Harbor. Walker also insists benefits and work rules no longer be negotiable, since collective bargaining is precisely why governments are spending twice as much on employee health as regular employers do. So, sure, he’s fighting government unions.

The unions’ war plan, however, hinges on mixing up targets. They need others, too, to imagine they’re in the sights. So they and their allies insist that it’s:

Walker vs. cities. Milwaukee’s union-friendly officials, for instance, complained bitterly about Walker ending a city-residency rule and about his plan to expand school choice, calling it hostility toward their city. Not quite. Ending the residency rule for Milwaukee Public Schools employees means that thousands of city residents will be able to live where they choose, a right enjoyed by most everyone else. Allowing families making, say, $45,000 a year to take their state aid to private schools means better schooling for Milwaukeeans. What looks like hostility to institutional Milwaukee is benefit for ordinary people.

Walker vs. your services. Madison’s Common Council president insisted that Walker’s state-aid cut – the state’s next budget is $3.5 billion underwater – would lead to “significant cuts in programs.” Said one Milwaukee County Board member, “You are going to lose your bus system.”

This ignores the obvious: Cities and counties should cut not services but what they pay for them. Milwaukee County’s unions haven’t yet agreed to start paying reasonable shares of health premiums, so just getting from them what Walker demands of state workers is a great start.

“Walker’s numbers are minimums,” notes County Board member Joe Sanfelippo. The county can ask for more; it can change to more sustainable plans. Sanfelippo’s proposed a switch from pensions to something like a 401(k), for instance. Big savings, and no massive layoffs or bus-system closure needed.

“With pension and health care benefits now non-bargained items, we’re finally in control,” said Sanfelippo. And unions aren’t.

Walker vs. the ‘working class.’ This one is rich, given that only 15% of Wisconsin works for government and is thus hurt by what Walker proposes. If anything, it’s unions vs. the private-sector majority of the working class: Unions insist on keeping their bargaining powers, winning back anything they concede and paying for it with higher taxes. Those are paid, in the main, by people who work.

What’s more, unions are now threatening boycotts of businesses that do not denounce Walker. They’ve targeted employers ranging from a T-shirt shop in Two Rivers to the ubiquitous convenience store chain, Kwik Trip. Unions are endangering the paychecks of thousands in the working class. Oh, well: Collateral damage happens.

Suppose we talk just of union members themselves. Insufficiently appreciated is that Walker’s reforms also end mandatory membership in government unions. Now, public workers will be able to join, or abstain, from union membership and dues, as they choose. It’s as if their right to make up their own minds mattered. Until now, it hasn’t.

The fact is that it is war, as Moore says. It is war of government unions, desperate to cling to remunerative power, against their employer’s owners. Those would be taxpayers.

Unions choose war because the warlike arts – fighting, regimenting, taking – are what unions do best. Conflict dominates their talk, just like that image of Wisconsin as a fist is all over their posters. The chief strategy of unions is to heighten complaint and to monetize dissatisfaction by organizing it.

It is war because the peaceful alternative, democracy, didn’t work out for the unions. They lost; taxpayers won. Don’t imagine they’ll leave it at that.