BLOG : Ohio, New Hampshire
Public Sector Pushback
Lawmakers in Wisconsin, Ohio and elsewhere have made headlines in the last two months for their bold steps to curtail bargaining rights and benefits for public sector unions. Now, however, supporters of public unions are pushing back; significant efforts to repeal recent legislation are already in the works.
One piece of legislation that garnered national attention is Ohio Senate Bill 5, which limited collective bargaining rights for public workers in Ohio. Foes of the bill have been circulating petitions to get a measure to repeal SB 5 on the ballot in November, but they'll need 230,000 signatures to meet their goal. They won a major victory last week when they received official approval for the petition to go forward from the Secretary of State and Attorney General. Opponents of Senate bill 5 will still need to gather all of their signatures by June 30, but last week's approval may signal a short life-span for the Republican-backed bill.
Ohio is not the only state where public unions are digging in; legislation aimed to curtail union power in New Hampshire is being stripped of its teeth. State Senate budget writers removed 120 parts of a House-passed trailer bill to the state budget, including one that restricted the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions. The House proposal on collective bargaining would make all public workers at-will employees once an existing labor contract. It's not all setbacks in New Hampshire though. The Senate Commerce Committee passed bill on April 12 to end the practice of requiring non-union members to pay a share of collective bargaining costs.
Though recent media attention has focused on Republican wins on collective bargaining in places like Wisconsin and Ohio, the story is more complicated than that. Public sector unions are a force to be reckoned with, in and out of official negotiations. The battle over collective bargaining in the states may be just beginning.
Filed Under : Union Issues & Employee Benefits