Sunday, February 27, 2011

Collective Bargaining Benefits us All. SB 5 Will Harm Ohio.

As I sit here watching Meet the Press this Sunday morning, I'm struck by how callous Conservatives feel toward public sector workers.  Kim Strassel, a guest on the show and an editorial board member and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, said governors are saying:

"We look at these budgets, it's due to public sector union benefits and we cannot touch them because of collective bargaining, because of these things we need the flexibilities and tools to fix this.  And so that's an argument that resonates with Americans."

So if we eliminate collective bargaining the agreements born of that bargaining are null and void and pensions can be reduced due to budget constraints.  Reducing pension payments are now "flexibilities and tools".  If retirement ages need to be raised, then sit down and prove it.  Put the numbers in front of unions and make the case that the well is dry and thirty and out is no longer an option.  Prove that people are living longer in retirement and that funding exists for only so many years of pension payments.

The taxpayer pie is shrinking and budgets are smaller.  All of us have seen our income reduced or at least the rate of growth slowed.  Benefits have been curtailed and some have lost  their jobs.  Public employees will have to pay higher medical benefit premiums, have their wages frozen or reduced (like the rest of us) and they will probably have to work longer before retirement and if they don't like it they can always find work in the private sector, the same as the rest of us.

Taking away collective bargaining agreements smacks of changing the rules in the middle of the game.  These agreements protect professional employees, establish safe working conditions and ensure accredited employees are in positions that demand specialized training.  Collective bargaining agreements are about far more than pay and benefits.  It is in our best interest to let the process continue and hold both the unions and elected officials to account for the results.

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