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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tea Party letter on SB-5

Senate Bill 5 (CBA Reform) is scheduled for a committee vote this coming Tuesday.  In attempts to inject some common sense into this bill, which was poorly drafted by State Senator Shannon Jones and shamefully passed out of the OH Senate, the below letter was submitted to OH House Speaker Bill Batchelder and Representative Joe Uecker, Chairman of the House Commerce and Labor Committee.

From what we are being told the OH House is doing their best to make SB-5 a good bill and we applaud these efforts.

The undersigned groups fully support a reform of CBA's, but we demand it must be done in the right way and most of all, must respect the Constitution.  If you agree with the below letter, please contact members of the OH House Commerce and Labor Committee and urge them to support the below suggestions. For OH House Commerce and Labor member contact info, please click here.

Cleveland Tea Party Patriots
P.O. Box 46378   Cleveland, OH  44146

Friday, March 18, 2011

Speaker Bill Batchelder
Representative Joe Uecker
Ohio House of Representatives
77 S. High St
Columbus, OH 43215

RE: Collective Bargaining Reform Bill (SB-5)

Dear Speaker Batchelder & Representative Uecker,

First, we would like to thank you in advance for giving our below correspondence on the Collective Bargaining Reform Bill (SB-5) your full consideration and prompt attention.

Putting aside our disappointment over the shameful way SB-5 was introduced and passed out of Committee in the Ohio Senate, we want to applaud the Ohio House for doing their due diligence on such an emotional and controversial, but much needed collectively bargaining reform bill.

We the undersigned Tea Party and 9.12 Groups, sharing the same concerns, respectfully submit the following items --

Safety Forces

Request that Safety Forces be exempted from SB-5.  Should they continue to be included, we would request they be allowed to collectively bargain for wages, staffing, safety equipment/training and uniform allowances.

With the right to binding arbitration for safety forces having been removed from SB-5, we would request this privilege be reinserted or to amend the current language in SB-5 to reflect, that if at an impasse in negotiations, an unbiased third party or third party panel be empowered to make the final contract decision.  Leaving this decision in the hands of the local legislative body is short sighted, as it would hamper the bargaining in good faith.

The classification of Fire Lieutenant should be left to the local community and this determination should be based on duties performed instead of rank.  Because of department size, smaller departments often have lower ranking officers perform rank and file tasks not administrative in nature.  We believe the Home Rule provision in the Ohio Constitution allows these decisions to be determined at the local level.  Reference; http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/tempx/629825.pdf.

No Strike Provisions

Many of us believe everyone has the “right” to strike, but they do NOT have the “right” to retain employment should they violate workplace policy.  Please consider that a person found to be participating in an unauthorized strike, be subject to dismissal hearings.  We believe taking this to the level of being a criminal offense is unwarranted and over reaching.

With the “No Strike” provision included, we submit that as currently written in SB-5, this language is subjective, can be applied arbitrarily in the work place, and falls short in respect to employees having a meaningful avenue towards an unbiased dispute resolution. It also appears the lines of due process and the burden of proof has been blurred in this section.

Fact Finding Hearings

Provisions in SB-5 state that if negotiations progress to the Fact-Finding stage, then at the request of either party this process will be open to the public.  At this stage of the negotiation process, in the spirit of transparency, we think it would be justifiable that the findings are automatically made available to the public.

Final Resolution

In its current form, SB-5 stipulates if negotiations advance to the fact-finding process and there is still an impasse, the legislative body then has the power to impose the last best offer of either party or re-implement the last agreed to contract for a term of 3 years.  In this form there is no incentive for the legislative body to reach a mutually agreed to contract as the bill gives them the ultimate power to impose a 3 year contract

We believe this provision is fundamentally flawed and request that the legislative body’s imposition of final contract terms be limited to the later of 2 years from expiration date of prior contract or 1 year from the date the legislative body imposes the new contract.  This limitation on mandated extension terms, will hopefully encourage both parties to remain actively engaged towards a mutually agreed to contract.

Unfair Labor Practices

This section of SB-5 expands the current law list of actions that constitute an unfair labor practice by a public employee. We would request that in respect to one of our inalienable rights, the right to free speech, the clause forbidding a public employee from having contact with an elected or appointed official not involved with negotiations be removed from SB-5.

Open Shop Clause / Re-Certification

Not taking away from the importance of any of the above listed items, we strongly believe it is of the utmost importance that public employees have the freedom and liberty to join or to not join a union for collective bargaining purposes. This is something that should not be mandated as terms of employment.  With this, we would urge you to reinsert the Open Shop language that was removed when passed out of the Ohio Senate.

In hand with this request, and also in the spirit of freedom and liberty, we believe to assure a work place reflective of the public employees desires, it be included in SB-5 that a separate and stand alone vote for re-certification of union representation be taken every two (2) years.

Finalizing our list of concerns, we request the SB-5 mandate that, at the time of the vote for re-certification of union representation and with any new hires, all public employees be advised and given a copy of Communication Workers of America V. Beck, 487 U.S. 735 (1988).

In closing, should you have any questions, or need further clarification on the above, please feel free to contact us.  Again, we would again like to thank you for your time and urge the Ohio House to give these requests and concerns their full consideration.

Respectfully submitted,

Ralph King
Cleveland Tea Party Patriots                       

Arzella Melnyk
Geauga/Lake Tea Party Patriots

Marianne Gasiecki
Mansfield Tea Party Patriots

Kay Clymer
Zanesville Tea Party Patriots

Gary Young
North Ridgeville Tea Party Patriots

Diana Price
Cleveland 9.12 Group

Al Wilson
Cleveland District Coordinator
Peoples Constitution Committee of OH

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