Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Responding to Faber's Explanation of SB 5.

On Sunday, in County News Online, Sen. Keith Faber gave his explanation of why SB 5 was a good thing. I’m not sure that he’s right so we’ll see if there is a counter point.

In the first paragraph he says that many of us contacted his office to express our opinions and our opinions were noted and he welcomed the many constructive suggestions. S B 5 is needed for the several political subdivisions to be able to deal with the realities of the 2011 economic situation.

What this really means is that anything sent to his office as a criticism wasn’t looked at very closely. He said in his speech that SB 5 is sorely needed, but never gave us hard fast reasons why it was needed. Saying its needed doesn’t make it so Keith, what particular reason prompted this legislation? Bottom line is an empty Corning plant on Martin St, a Fram plant with less than half the employment, Excello plant gone, empty manufacturing buildings in Union City, Ansonia and the rest of the county. Those are some of the reasons that we have an economic problem here in Darke County, not negotiation with public employees. But we’ll give you that one that paying government workers a fair wage is the problem.

SB 5 is about empowering government entities to better manage their workforces and control costs to live within taxpayer’s means. See the above paragraph. You and others let the manufacturing jobs go bye-bye but expect the same level of services with half the paychecks to cover them. That’s the problem, not paying government paychecks.

As for paying 15% of healthcare, that is a negotiated thing that local government subdivisions have negotiated. You’re saying that it needs to be capped. OK we’ll give you that, why didn’t you say that. We can work with that. You think that all employees should pay their share of their own pension. Well we did for years and then some rocket scientist came up with the idea that the employer could pay both sides. No one held a gun to their head; it just meant they gave us a raise without giving us a raise. Both of these tactics put more take home money in our pockets without giving use a raise, my friend. That way the next time the typical 3% raise was offered it was offered on a gross paycheck from three years ago and not what it should have been. We’ll take that too. Continue to give a 1, 2 or 3% raise each year. What you don’t understand is that the total amount of money being paid by each political subdivision will be the same no matter what. If it comes out of my pocket, it was in your pocket first. But we’ll give you that one too.

The next paragraph says that 400,000 Ohioans have lost jobs and have wages and benefits cut because of economic woes. You almost stumbled onto the problem. NO JOBS! Is it the employee’s job to keep their employer hear or yours? The problem of economic woes is NO JOBS. Does Mexico have this problem? Unfortunately the empty buildings on our streets still have to be protected, those laid off workers kids still have to be educated and the problems associated with no jobs and hot tempers during these times still have to be dealt with by law enforcement. Do we pay these folks less money because the state made it so hard for companies to do business here that they left? Not our fault. But you can put the blame on us if you want. We don’t want you guys to have to take responsibility for any of this.

And now to the myths:

Myth: SB 5 will hurt the middle class.

You say that SB 5 will empower the middle class by restoring the ability of local governments to control their budgets. What rock have you been living under? They’ve always had that ability, unless they gave it away. Making it sound like teachers, firefighters and police officers stand over the negotiating table with a 50 caliber machine gun sort of makes me mad. You’re trying to tell me that you can legislate intelligence into a mayor, city manager, or school board office. If that happens this will truly be a landmark piece of legislation. You say that this will give the public sector some of the same tools the private sector enjoys. That’s good, except that it will still be the public sector and you can do things in the private sector that you can’t do in the public sector.

Myth: This is a politically motivated reform that would “strip away collective bargaining.”

What kind of an answer is that? Have you ever sat in negotiations? I have and they certainly weren’t one sided. Preserving managements rights, indeed, as a matter of fact almost any union contract I’ve ever read or helped right has the first section defining management’s rights. If they didn’t have them they weren’t bright enough to keep them because they had them in the beginning. But, we’ll give you that one. There probably were some unscrupulous school teachers out there who, with the aid of that 50 caliber machine gun, took those rights away from a school board. In my town, the city pays an outside negotiator to make sure that doesn’t happen. It costs them over $100,000 per negotiation. If they lost some of their rights, I think we can see whose fault it is. (Let’s see $100,000 divided by 100 employees = $1000 raise for everyone). But, we’ll give you that one. Those folks got to make a living too don’t they?

Myth: This bill was “rammed through” and the unions and Democrats could not participate.

Since when is this a Democrat/Republican thing? I’m a registered Republican and I sure don’t feel like I had a say so in it. Because even though you were very forth coming in attending the town hall meetings, you didn’t listen to us because Kasich said he wanted it and you guys were going to deliver. You missed the boat Keith, it wasn’t supposed to be a D/R thing it was supposed to be for all Ohioans but we’ll surely give you that one. You finally called it what it was. I watched the debate on PBS and two very articulate gentlemen got up right before you and you didn’t listen to a thing that they said. Oh, that’s right they were Democrats. This wasn’t their bill anyway was it? Like I said, you got one right. We’ll give you that one.

Myth: The Senate has exempted themselves and their staff from the provisions of this bill.

No brainer, why wouldn’t you. Do as I say and not as I do. Both of my sons were pages in the house and senate. I couldn’t have given them a better education. Nuff said! You need to understand something; I worked for a school system, a municipality and the State of Ohio and paid my full share of my retirement and my hospitalization for over 35 years. Why don’t you make a list and publish it of all of these people who are getting this good deal. I’ll bet it’s a long one. Didn’t happen here in Greenville, doubt if it did in Celina either, probably on the Eastern side of the state. You know, Mark Dann, Traficant, that bunch. We’ll look for that list.

Myth: Senate Bill 5 will cut teachers’ salaries in half or lower teachers’ salaries to $17,300.

Was this myth something you dreamed up or did it actually have an author? First of all, what person would be a school teacher for that money? Second, the public already has the right to know where their money is going. It’s public money. Salaries are public record or did you not know that? Don’t tell people that they are getting something that they already have. Having intelligent negotiators to deal with multimillion dollar companies is the only thing that will allow us to have an edge in getting jobs back here. That and a legislature willing to pass laws that are industry friendly.

So here’s the deal. I’m going to keep this list real close and in four years we’ll see if it worked. Too short, OK we’ll wait 8 years. I don’t want to press you because I know how it works at Broad and High. The greatest take away I got from all of this is that I now know that you don’t understand negotiation. There was certainly none at the town hall meeting because nothing was changed when we left. But, we’ll give you that one too. No sense clouding the issue.

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