Ohio Governor John Kasich signed Senate Bill 5 into law after being approved in the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives March 31.
This controversial bill was approved by a vote of 52-44 in the House and 17-16 in the Senate.
This bill plans to remove and change many of the public employee rights in attempts to balance the Ohio Budget. Such changes include the way the public can collectively bargain, what they can bargain and a removal of the right to strike, according to Representative Teresa Fedor.
This change in law will affect all Ohio communities and families, if it ever goes into effect. However, with the rallies all over Ohio and the outrage of most every public employee, it may very well not take effect, Fedor said.
Fedor has been speaking at many rallies in Columbus. She said if the petition for repeal gets 231,000 signatures from 44 of the 88 counties in Ohio by June 30, the bill will be on hold and put on the ballot in the upcoming election. This will then go out to a vote, and may not be passed by Ohio voters.
Fedor said by design, Senate Bill 5 will break the backs of the unions in Ohio.
“I believe this bill is a quality of life issue when it comes to public employees,” Fedor said.
According to Fedor, this bill is a job killer, yet during Kasich’s campaign the rhetoric was all about stabilizing jobs. “Many people are going to become unemployed,” Fedor said. “They want to track down people from all over the United States to come to Ohio, but they are dragging the people from in Ohio right out. We are an exporter of jobs.”
Likewise, Ohio House member Matt Szollosi said Senate Bill 5 is a solution looking for a problem.
“In the three years preceding Senate Bill 5, there were a total of five labor union strikes in the state of Ohio,” Szollosi said. “None of them were in the year of 2010. The goal of this bill is to limit labor strikes, but that is clearly not necessary here.”
According to Szollosi, this bill is estimated to save Ohio $1.3 billion, but Fedor and Szollosi said the savings will be due to the requirement that state employees will have to pay a full share of their pension contribution and 15 percent of their health care.
According to Szollosi, the bill also took away the necessity for pay to be protected by a union, even though people are allowed the option of being in the union. The Fair Share Amendment made the people who were protected by the union pay to support the unions. However, now Ohioans do not have to pay by law, which will encourage free loading and will ultimately diminish the unions for their lack of funds, Szollosi said.
Additionally, the bill lowered the threshold to de-certify a union from 50.1 percent to 30 percent, according to Szollosi.
Mark Morris, a Miami University professor and a board member of Fairfield City Schools, is not sure how the passage of this bill will affect his district because the bill has so many changes within it.
Morris also questioned why Ohio is de-funding education when it is already facing so many cuts.
“Even at Miami, there is a 15 percent cut,” Morris said. “This, then trickles down directly to the faculty, students and their educations. The focus should be on education to prepare ourselves for a global economy, but instead we are diminishing the education.”
Miami Sophomore Libby Martin declares herself as a Republican and approves the bill.
“Honestly, public unions have become too demanding in the last decade in terms of pay and benefits,” Martin said. “If private companies need to make cut backs due to financial trouble, why can’t the public sector do the same? Everyone is struggling to bounce back right now, and unions are only making the government’s job more difficult.”