Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Obviously and predictably, organized labor is against the Ohio Republican Party's plan to curtail the bargaining rights of unions under Senate Bill 5.  The bill has passed the Senate and is nearing passage in the Ohio House.

But unions are NOT the only ones opposed to the bill.  A number of Ohio city councilpersons and administrators are against it.

Last night Mansfield City Council was considering passage of a non-binding resolution.  The Mansfield News Journal reports the anti SB5 sentiments thusly:
The resolution says SB 5 prohibits local government employees from negotiating benefit plan coverage and to set local community-based policy standards, resulting in an unfunded state mandate and impeding management efficiency and the effective use of tax dollars. It also says elimination of bargaining rights will result in more discontent, lower morale and higher rates of absence, abuse of rules and dismissal of honest attempts to work in collaboration.
What is missing from the Mansfield action is that passage of the bill could save Ohio's local governments (including cities) significant amounts of money.

What local government managers appear to value (including Canton's) over monetary savings is labor peace. 

Although Martuccio acknowledged in a talk to city officials (see video below) on March 8 (at Mayor Healy's monthly budget forum) that cities could reap financial benefits from the Ohio General Assembly legislation, it seemed clear - from the March 8th meeting and other city official public expressions - to the SCPR that Martuccio and his fellows in Canton city government do not relish telling affected city workers that they - because of the legislation - are being cut in their income.

If the cuts do eventually take place, it seems near certain that they will occur only after the voters of Ohio have endorsed the legislative action in a constitutional referendum.   Organized labor and their friends are set to spearhead an effort to put the question before Ohioans on November's ballot.

A spin off of a vote on such a referendum could be it having an effect on Canton's mayoralty race.

On the surface, it might seem to favor whichever candidate comes out of the the Democratic primary.  Pro-union voters will be out in spades in locales like Canton.  Either Republican candidate (Gerig or Conde) has a tough way to go in Canton with its 9 to 1 Democratic voter registration majority.  But add onto that a high pro-union turnout on a SB 5 repeal effort and it might be that the tough becomes impossible.

However, such might not be the case.

Yesterday, the Canton Profession Firefighters Association (CPFFA) Local 249 union endorsed Republican Conde.  Not a move that either Democrat (Healy or Smuckler) is pleased to see.  

Smuckler would appear to have more of a problem garnering union support than Healy should he be the Dems nominee.  

Recalling the large union turnout when Healy formally announced for mayor earlier this year, it might be that Conde (in light of the firefighters endorsement) has a chance to get additional union support should he be the GOP nominee and Healy is not the Democrat nominee.   Or, at the very least, get unions neutralized.

Here is Canton Law Director Joe Martuccio speaking on SB 5 and its possible ramifications on cities:

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