Friday, February 25, 2011

Guest Column from State Representative Jim Buchy

The Collective Bargaining Debate Facts Tell the True Story

In the past few weeks you have heard a lot of discussion about collective bargaining for public employees. This issue must be addressed, but when considering important proposals that will affect the lives of many good Ohioans you must assess the facts. I am committed to keeping my door open and discussing the facts with anyone interested. Currently, all the talk about this issue has centered on a Senate Bill introduced by Senator Shannon Jones. SB 5 could be changed significantly before it ever comes before the House for consideration. Over the coming months considerable time will be spent researching this topic. At stake are livelihoods, children, and incorrect use of state and local dollars.

The work of our teachers, state employees, university employees, fire fighters, police officers, and other local employees is greatly respected. Taking up a call to public service is admirable and at a time like this we are all called to be part of the solution to put Ohio back on her feet. The effects of this bill are different for all public employees, however, it will revolutionize collective bargaining in a way which will reinvigorate our state, ensure the long-term use of collective bargaining agreements in the needed fields, and promote a new found relationship between employees and administrators not currently experienced in many public sector jobs where collective bargaining agreements curtail interaction between employee and employer.

As changes are considered members of the house will get to know many new faces and it is important to hear their concerns. Constituents in favor and opposition to these changes will contact our offices, meet us in the district, and come to Columbus to voice their concerns. I can hear those concerns and I have been impressed by the positive encounters I have had with protestors and constituents. I look forward to listening to more concerns and working with impacted constituents to ensure the most positive changes are made to public employee collective bargaining law. This is an important issue and it has drawn state and national media attention. However, the concerns of people in my district and the facts are the most important things to consider.

In 1983, SB 33 passed the legislature which provided public employees the ability to collective bargain with the right to strike. That same year saw our state personal income tax increase permanently by 90%. In 1983, Ohio had 21 U.S. Congressmen. In 2011 we will be redistricting for 16. Ohio is back pedaling and needs a total new direction to get our economy moving forward. Passage of collective bargaining reform will help with this process.


  1. In 1983 the pay scale AND benefits for public employees such as law enforcement were far behind that of any private sector job. Collective bargaining doesn't demand higher wages, it ensures fairness in wages and benefits to other agencies of similar size and population served. I do believe that a person who puts someone elses life before their own should be paid more than someone working a general labor type job. No offense to the general laborers. Also it is illegal for a law enforcement officer/union to strike and "walk off the job." They have agreed to continue working even if they disagree and continue to provide public service. Public sector unions and private sector unions are somewhat similar yet very different. I am aware that law enforcement members in this community have taken numerous voluntary cuts and refused wage increases to maintain their jobs and save tax payer money and they still continue to provide outstanding service to the citizens to this community.

    Mr. Buchy is right, the system needs changed and the bank is broke. Collective bargaining isn't the cause and reform will not fix the problem. Maybe it's time for our representatives to start living like the rest of us blue collar workers. They should feel the restrictions of a fixed income. They should only be offered the same benefits that we have AND those benefits only last so long as you are employed, not for the rest of your life after a couple years service. They should be afforded a fair retirement after 25, 35, 40, 50 years of service just like the rest of us. I agree there needs to be change, a fair to change to all.

    Finally, are there any elected officials who are just capable of doing the right thing. Representatives who will do what is asked of them by the people and for the people and not because of some billionaire business company that manipulates them like a puppet. I challenge any representative to do what is right and not just line your own pocket or your parties pocket. Isn't that why you were elected?

  2. Why does anyone believe that the state has the right to outlaw collective bargaining? Where in the constitution does it say that people cannot band together to negotiate and be represented in their negotiations. This is a very strange road for conservatives to travel.

  3. Fintons: Strange road for conservatives? That is the road they have traveled since the Wagner Act (1935) which they upgraded to a superhighway after Ohio's Collective Bargaining Law was passed in 1983. Where in the constitution does it say that a war can be started without Congress? Like the Bible, everyone uses the document to justify their own opinions.

  4. You are spot on Vader. I am a union person-in the classroom. My big paycheck amounts to $30,000 a yr. No raises for 4 yrs. I can't begin to add up the dollars spent for the class-from food, clothing and even bus fare home all for students.How many private sector workers do that? We do it on a regular basis. Nor can I calculate the hrs of my own time spent helping a student after I am offically off the clock. Or the hrs going to workshops. Or the hrs and money spent for college classes I am required by law to keep my job. My license alone cost over $200.00. We have been told all our sick leave will disappear if this law passes. Guess I was the stupid one for not using them these past 16 yrs. Merit raises are a joke. If the one evaluating you has had a bad day-well lots of luck in getting the raise or even keeping your job. It is totally subjective and most unfair. I worked in a non union place and experienced the merit plan first hand. I was told to quit but refused so the wonderful bosses created a way to fire me. What is happening in Ohio and Wisconsin is not showing democracy but dictatorship. We are willing to sit down with those who are determined to pass this law yet they refuse because they are determined to pass this law. We did not cause the mess in Ohio. This law will not bring good teachers to our state which will effect the education system. Teachers teach all profession including future congress people.

  5. Very well said Vader, This has nothing to do with balancing the state budget.

  6. Mr. Buchy, or for that matter any Ohio Representative, do you have any response?

  7. These comments make you wonder why 63% of the voters in Darke County voted for Kasich! In all fairness, he is doing exactly what he said he would do.


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