Home > Politics, Trends > Ohio: Republican Sen. Bill Seitz Pulled off Committee After Opposing SB5 Anti-Labor Bill

Ohio: Republican Sen. Bill Seitz Pulled off Committee After Opposing SB5 Anti-Labor Bill

March 2, 2011

Columbus firefighter Lt. David Blair told the Columbus Dispatch that for him, the issue is more than money. “For me, it’s about safety. Our fire gear is subject to negotiation. If they take away the tools to do our job, people will perish,” he said. And it’s not just labor unions and their allies.

As I am reading these stories I am thinking where is the outrage — I know there are protests by public employees, but where is the outrage from everyday Americans?

From the Progress Report:

OHIO TODAY: Senate Bill, SB5; Ohio’s bill would actually “go further than the one in Wisconsin by also affecting police officers and firefighters,” but unlike in the standoff in Wisconsin, Democrats in Ohio “don’t have the numbers to walk out and delay a vote.”

The Ohio Senate Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee approved the changes today , which come in the form of a 99-page amendment to the bill. The committee’s chairman, state Sen. Kevin Bacon (R) worried he would not have enough votes to bring the measure to the Senate floor after Republican Sen. Bill Seitz (R), a committee member, said he would oppose it. Seitz even wrote an op-ed to the Cincinnati Enquirer warning the bill “overreach[es].” In a stunning move this morning, the Republican leadership yanked Seitz off the Labor committee, replacing him with a supporter of S.B 5 ahead of the vote.

The 99-page amendment was released only Monday, and legislators are expected to vote on it today, giving them almost no time to read or consider it. There’s not even a summary from Ohio’s Legislative Service Commission, the state’s version of the Congressional Research Service. As Seitz wrote, “Neither will I support a bill without taking time to read and understand it.”

The Bill – SB5
The bill and its amendment would enact “sweeping changes” to the state’s existing collective-bargaining law, allowing only “wages, hours, and terms and conditions” to be subject to collective bargaining, while health care benefits, pensions, and other issues would not. As many labor supporters have noted, however, management could simply unilaterally dock workers’ benefits packages to compensate for any pay increases gained through collective bargaining. More disturbingly, the bill would ban strikes. The penalty for illegal striking would be termination, the docking of twice the workers’ daily pay rate, or even 30 days in jail. It would also end binding arbitration as the method for resolving police and fire contract impasses, replacing it “with a completely unworkable, unfair system.” “Such an arrangement, said Jim Gilbert, head of the union representing most police officers in Franklin County, would almost certainly lead to a preordained outcome [of] which the employer approves.” On top of all this, S.B.5 and its 99-page amendment would limit paid vacation and sick leave.

    May 19, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    I once worked for a man who said you can always back up from “NO”. In the case of Seitz, he should have worked with Kasich because this is an important first step to get these Democrats moving toward the ditch. Seitz could have had his say later. If he could convince the Gov to back off a little, for good reasons, then the Gov could back up from “NO” There is no I in TEAM.

    One must conclude that Seitz is a RINO!

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