Ohio Issue 2 is a ballot initiative resulting from public employee labor unions protesting the passage of Senate Bill 5 which would restructure Ohio labor laws.
Opponents claim that SB 5 would make it illegal for police and fire officers to negotiate safe staffing levels, training and safe working conditions.
Staffing levels are not mandatory bargaining issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act or the State Employment Relations Board. Using Youngstown Police and Fire Department contracts as examples, staffing falls under Management Rights. Article 5 Section 1 (F) of the Police contract and Article 4 Section 1 (F) of the Fire contract specify as a Management Right, “Determine the adequacy of the work force.”
Staffing only becomes a bargaining issue if both sides agree to bring it into negotiations. (Sentence added for clarity, 10/24)
As for safe working conditions, all employees have the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Continuing training for police (Ohio Revised Code 109.803) and firefighters (ORC 4765.55) is required under Ohio law.
Public Employees also have additional protection under the Ohio Civil Service Commission, protections that are not found in the private sector.
Senate Bill 5 also has provisions for the public employer to pay 85% of health insurance premiums, leaving the employee to pay just 15%. Youngstown Police and Fire pay 10%, as per their respective contracts.
Senate Bill 5 also allows up to 8 weeks of paid vacation, in addition to other forms of leave such as accumulated compensation time off and sick leave.
Pensions are paid under SB 5 at 90%, with a 10% employee contribution. Compare this with a private sector 401k or IRA which is funded 100% by the employee.
The Ohio Department of Administrative Services found that had SB 5 been implemented in fiscal year 2010 it would have saved Ohio governments over $1.3 billion dollars.
The Ohio Business Roundtable released a report dated September 14, 2011 in which it found that when wages and benefits are tallied, Ohio public sector workers earn 31.2% more than private sector employees. When retirement benefits and job security are factored in, the disparity jumps to more than 43% over the private sector.
Firefighters in Youngstown earn $25.9753 to $34.1490 an hour top base wage, Police earn $26.15 to $39.7648 (Brass contract). These figures do not include Chiefs.
General laborers (public sector, AFSCME contract, Youngstown) earn $18.33 base rate and a clerk earns $23.01. Maintenance men earn $24.65 base rate per hour.
None of these figures include benefits such as shift differential, on-call pay, insurance, workers compensation insurance, retirement, etc.
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