Ohio House passes SB 5, collective bargaining bill

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March 30, 2011

Shannon jones.jpg   WBatchelder.jpg
       Shannon Jones       William Batchelder   

Jones is the original sponsor of the bill.
Batchelder is Speaker of the House.

By Tyler Millhouse

COLUMBUS, Ohio: On Wednesday, March 30, Senate Bill 5 passed the Ohio House of Representatives by a margin of 53-44. The house-modified bill has now been referred back to the senate where it must be approved before being sent to the Governor's desk.[1] Most notably, the house bill prevents unions from charging "fair share" dues to employees who opt out.[2]

On March 2, the Ohio State Senate first approved the highly controversial bill by a 17-16 margin. Despite the narrow margin in the State Senate, the bill was expected to pass the house.[3]

The bill will impact the state's 400,000 public workers, restricting their ability to strike and collectively bargain. As it stands, the bill would only permit public employees to collectively bargain for wages, preventing them from collectively bargaining for health insurance and pensions. The bill would also prohibit all public employees from striking and could increase employee contributions for pensions and healthcare.[4][5]

Governor John Kasich (R) argues the bill is not an attempt to eliminate unions, but rather is aimed at restoring "balance to the system."[6] Kasich expects the bill to save the state $8 billion dollars and help close the state's budget gap.[1] Opponents, however, argue that the bill unfairly targets the middle class and plan to challenge the bill with a state referendum.[2]

Update: March 31, 2011

The Ohio State Senate voted to approve house changes to Senate Bill 5 by a margin of 17-16. The bill was signed into law Thursday night by Governor Kasich.[7][8]

See also