What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Rabbit hole, down we go (Ohio SB 5)

For our own version of the "Screw the Workers" bill (otherwise known locally as SB 5), it passed last night, after having to remove two republicans from the committee in charge of the bill. Seems it was too radical even in it's amended state for some conservatives (the bill wouldn't have been voted out of committee without the last minute substitutions and reshuffling the committee assignments). Are all my conservative friends proud of the party they helped make the majority yet?

And with all the kerfluffle about SB 5 and the WI bill, conservatives continue to advance their radical social agenda of out lawing abortion, removing rights, dismantling regulations, and generally acting like the entrenched ideologues they are. When do we get to something that will actually help employment? Eh, probably not until summer. Of course, their argument will be that once they remove wage guarantees (like minimum wage), regulations meant to keep workers from dying or being maimed on the job, regulations to ensure those who live around industries won't die a premature death, and reduce benefits to meaningless lip service, well then, we'll all be able to get back to work. I wonder when anybody will point out that many of those regulations keep people off the public doles and out of disability? Probably not until it's a problem, again.

But, it's not all bad news. I just found out last night that another of the staunch libertarians I know switched their party alliance to the Democratic Party (and sent them money). So, while we may have to wade through a few years of this muck, I see a swing away from the conservatives in the coming elections. (I did explain that our side wasn't all that much better, but while we may not do anything to help, we also aren't intent on harming).

From AOL news, "Under SB 5, elected officials at the state and local levels would be given the authority to resolve contract disputes with public employees." Yeah. Negotiations work so much better when the one side has sole authority to resolve conflicts. You know the whole argument about how Unions can campaign to have their chosen officials elected (mostly Democrats) and those are the people they negotiate with, so they're stacking the deck? Yeah, what this says is the people the Unions negotiate with have the final word on any disagreement.

Let me be more crass, that provision is the, "You'll take what we offer and you'll like it" segment of the bill. Again, "binding arbitration" (the previous way disputes were settled) wasn't the Union's idea, it was the elected officials choice. They forced that on the Unions after the cost of defending themselves in court got to high. Well, guess what, those independent arbiters would find for the Unions is the majority of cases (just like how, even with the Labor Relations Board stacked with conservatives, Unions continue to win the majority of their appeals, which is why the current Congress is trying to zero out its budget). Or I can phase it this way, even with the deck stacked against the Unions, they still continued to win their arguments when they're presented to third parties.

Even if you're not in a union, that clause should strike fear into your heart. Don't like how negotiations with your boss are going? Tough. You know those posters in the break room that specify your rights under employment law? Yeah, kiss those goodbye.

And as a final note, in that AOL new article, you'll see that the final bill was some 599 pages long. It was passed out of committee, through the rules committee, and passed the Senate all in a matter of a few hours. So much for the "have you read the bill" crowd.

Again, thanks TP for helping to bring this about.


Sheila the fabutronic said...

Makes me wonder why the GOP thinks that "the good old days" were so good. Has everyone forgotten the conditions that caused people to want to form unions in the first place?

Guess there are two kinds of people: those who watch a performance of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and are happy that Scrooge had a change of heart, starting to pay a living wage and caring about the health and welfare of his employee's family -- and those who watch the same performance and think that the circumstances at the beginning were ideal because it was a free market that was unrestricted by pesky regulations, and Scrooge was able to maximize profits.

The latter group doesn't see clearly how much everyone benefits from Scrooge's change of heart, particularly Scrooge himself: he is happier because he is spending time with friends and family and doing fun things, his health improves because he has people who care about him to take care of him when he is ill, and his profits soar because Bob Cratchett's productivity improves, due to Bob's better health, less stress over his family's health and circumstances, and his growing self-confidence at being able to support his family and because he has an employer who cares about and values him.

Sorry about the long comment, Steve. It was a hard point to make without using all those darn words.

Steve Buchheit said...

No worries on the long comment, Sheila. I'm prone to long comments myself.