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Study: Concessions saved taxpayers $1B



Published: Wed, October 19, 2011 @ 12:09 a.m.

By Marc Kovac

news@vindy.com

COLUMBUS

Public-employee unions have saved taxpayers more than $1 billion through contract concessions over the past three years, according to a study released Tuesday by opponents of Senate Bill 5.

The study was paid for by Protecting Ohio’s Protectors, a coalition of police and firefighter unions, to show that state and local workers have accepted wage freezes or reductions, increased health-care premiums, unpaid furlough days and other compensation cuts in light of the state’s economic downturn.

“Our members recognized the economic conditions in this state and were giving money back to their employers to help the doors stay open,” said Jay McDonald, president of the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio. “And this report confirms that.”

But proponents of Issue 2, the November ballot item that will decide whether the state’s controversial collective-bargaining law takes effect or is repealed, said concessions aren’t the issue.

Connie Wehrkamp, spokeswoman for Building a Better Ohio, said in a released statement, “We recognize that some government workers have agreed to modest concessions from time to time, but they represent a fraction of the savings that could be generated by the reasonable reforms of Issue 2. In fact, some estimates indicate that Issue 2 would generate more than four times the savings claimed to be achieved in this union-backed report.”

She added, “If a community doesn’t have the funds to increase wages for government workers in the first place, that community won’t see any true savings, and its financial situation remains the same. Issue 2 will allow cities to realize actual cost savings that could provide immediate relief to local governments and school districts.”

Senate Bill 5, appearing as Issue 2 on the November ballot, would place limits on collective bargaining, changing the way more than 350,000 public workers have negotiated contract terms for nearly three decades.

Proponents say the changes are needed to enable public offices to better control their costs.

But opponents call the new law a politically motivated attack by Republicans on unions that will result in reductions in the ranks of teachers, police officers, firefighters and other public servants.

They also say public-employee unions have taken steps to reduce government costs in recent years.

According to the study released by Senate Bill 5 opponents, more than 90 percent of the public-employee contracts finalized last year included wage freezes.

Additionally, 65 percent of those contracts included furlough days, reduced compensation and other concessions. And more than 93 percent of public workers pay their full contribution into pension plans, with no employer pickups.

“We can certainly show in city by city, county by county, state level, that we’ve sat down and worked through these tough economic times,” said Mark Sanders, president of the Ohio Association of Professional Firefighters.


Comments

1VindyPost(436 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

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Vote No on Issue 2!

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2UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

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Vote YES on Issue 2!

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Issue 2 is a fairness issue. Why shouldn't public employees pay 10% for their pensions and 15% for their healthcare ? There are plenty more concessions needed to balance the state and local budgets without additional tax increases. They already receive 43% more on average in pay and benefits then the equivalent private sector employee.

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3Cowboyfan(105 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Get your facts straight "Union Forever" I pay 10% and 15% have for at least 10 years. Just what does a non-union Police Officer make? Oh some of those guys are called security gaurds with no weapons training not Police Officers.

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4retiredfella(31 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

We need to remove all incumbents and strictly party politicians from offie. Collective bargaining across the table, not across party lines, works. We need to take our country back from the inbreed politicians.

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5Dan_Moadus(33 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

It really shows just how out of control the system is when they look at taking days off as a concession. When public employees take days off to supposedly save money, what does it mean? Did we receive less service, or weren't those people needed for those days, neither which is anything to brag about.

Vote "Yes" on Issue 2!

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6Dan_Moadus(33 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Public workers who oppose Issue 2 (SB5) seem to not care about their fellow workers, and aren't willing to give a little bit to save their coworkers jobs. The simple fact that almost every community has had to lay off employees because of dwindling finances, means that the remaining employees were not willing to grant enough concessions to keep their union brothers and sisters employed.

They may argue that the current system works, but it certainly didn't work well enough to be able to keep the departments fully staffed.

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7Militarymom2(3 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Vote NO on Issue 2,

When the politician's who are trying to get rid of the middle class include themselves in these laws they are trying to pass and/or maintain I may think differently. .... and why do people who think they are cheated because they don't think they're getting the same as someone else want to bring more people "down" instead of trying to bring the rest "up". Maybe you would be working somewhere that offered a little more if only you would have applied, but maybe didn't think of it. DON'T let them take away more of our rights, it will affect you [eventually] too.

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8AnotherAverageCitizen(1174 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

If issue 2 is about making ALL public workers pay 20-25% for medical coverage, why is issue 2 numerous pages long.

If issue 2 stated "all public employess will pay xx% towars retirement and medical I would support issue 2. However its the other 50 pages of issue 2 that KILLS THE MIDDLE CLASS

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BYE BYE sb5

Vote NO on issue 2
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9AnotherAverageCitizen(1174 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Dan post 7

No. It probably means they are a day behind in their work. Just like the private sector. If a store closes on the weekend, does that mean the store is not needed?
You rational makes ZERO sense.

If you stand in line to get plates for your cars, don't complain when there is only 2 people working with 34 customers. Don't complain when your house is burning and you need to wait for the second volunteer fireman to show up at the station to come put YOUR fire out.

Oh thats right they are just overpaid govt workers, UNTIL YOU NEED THEM....
Then they are life savers.

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10franc004(71 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Yes and the "study" cited by the pro-SB5 Business Roundtable adds an arbitrary ten percent for "job security" to support its bogus claims. Shameful. The fact is, and this fact is supported by the very conservative Columbus Dispatch, that there is really no way to compare public and private sector in an "apples to apples" way. SB5 is all about Kasich's attempts to weaken his perceived opposition as is his voter ID bill and the redistricting fiasco.

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11commoncitizen(959 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

AAC, and what does the other "50 pages" say?? For the most part it explians what SB5 is about.
Wasn't it interesting on how all of the public sector unions hurried and settled their contract BEFORE SB5 was even passed. They knew they were getting "cadillac" benefits and didn't want to loose any (in this contract period)
Yes on SB5!!!

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12Dan_Moadus(33 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

"anotheraveragecitizen" in post 12 seems to think that retaining SB5 would result in fewer employees. Why? If under SB5, costs per employee could be reduced, doesn't it stand to reason that we could retain (employ) more?

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13Phil_EngAmer(32 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

If these numbers are to be believed, really it highlights the absurd system by which we create public sector compensation. Despite all of this, Ohio finds itself with public sector employees earning 43% more in total compensation over private sector counterparts (http://eng.am/pFPawi).

A good portion of this disparity is found in pension payouts which will not be affected significantly in SB5. The pension system all over the country is a mess. Unfunded liabilities are piling up, with more than a trillion dollars in liabilities waiting to explode (http://eng.am/qB3BON).

States simply can’t afford this. You’re seeing cities have to declare bankruptcy in large part due to this problem (http://eng.am/rrfynn), and if it’s not bankruptcy, it’s ever increasing burden on the taxpayers (http://eng.am/p9JEUG).

It’s important to remember that this isn’t just a red vs. blue issue (http://eng.am/qh2i1T), states all over the country are having to embrace public sector reform or else suffer the consequences of either insolvency or job loss. Hopefully Ohio doesn’t let the problem continue to fester, because if it should, the future of the state looks bleak.

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14palbubba(664 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

If the other 50 pages of the bill make it bad, what does that make Obama's health care bill which is well over 1000 pages long? Passed by party politicians who hadn't even read it. That may be the most ridiculous arguement yet. Those of us on Social Security have not had a raise in 2 years, what did that save the government? A benefit we worked for and paid into along with our employers. Taking unpaid days off is not a concession unless you are a public employee. Unused sick days being paid out at retirement is ridiculous. Sick days are to protect a person if they are truly sick, not to be used as extra income. Wake up, what we have now is a broken system, let's fix it by voting yes on SB5.

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15AnotherAverageCitizen(1174 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

""AAC, and what does the other "50 pages" say?? For the most part it explians what SB5 is about""

I can explain it in two words... UNION BUST or SCREW UNIONS

Hurried to do contracts. Read the article, OVER 3 YEARS. kasuch has been in office for 9 months.

As I have said many times, just put same % for retirement and medical for ALL public workers I would agree. Only if kasich would lead by example and do to himself and his staff. How ever that is what the other 50 pages are for, sb5 does not include them. If kasich didn't say get on the bus or GET RUN OVER, maybe compromised, discussed, maybe things would be a lot better. That is why sb5 is bad for Ohio.

BYE BYE sb5

Vote NO on issue 2

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16Cowboyfan(105 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

They tried to make them work 9 unpaid days. Does that seem fair? 9 unpaid days is a paycut that means there are 9 weeks where you will not get 40 hours.

If you think they are going to hire more people if this passes you are wrong. Kasich is trying right now to push a bill through that says there will not be 1 more person hired on State payrolls until every department cuts their workforce 10%.

NO ON SB5

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17AnotherAverageCitizen(1174 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Cowboy I agree.

Work 9 days and not get paid. HMMMM. Maybe they will not pay their full gas bill and see what gets said... What happens if ithey don't pay their full mortgage since they are not getting full pay?

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18db(280 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Union workers are a bunch of lazy slobs who need a union to protect their jobs. Unions bankrupted General Motors, bankrupted the railroads, and were on the verge of bankrupting the state of Ohio. They don't care about anyone except themselves; their benefits, their pay raises, their early retirements. They don't care about the elderly on fixed incomes who lose their homes due to ever-increasing property taxes. They don't care that the private sector works to age 65 to pay them in in their cushy middle age retirements. These people are pigs. The time for unions is long gone. The collective bargaining process has been corrupted as the Democratic politicians trade votes for inflated union benefits; and we taxpayers are stuck with the tax bill. Fire every frickin one of these clowns and put their jobs on the free market.

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19Philo(99 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

If SB5 is upheld then the honest hard working private sector taxpayers will be vindicated. If it is overturned, the Republican controlled state legislature should immediately enact laws to implement the provisions of SB5 piecemeal. Then, any public sector job that can be outsourced to the private sector should be outsourced to the private sector. There is simply no room in this society for public sector unions. Their time has come and gone.

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20AnotherAverageCitizen(1174 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

DB,

Who bankrupted all the banks and wall street that needed bailed out. Not the Unions. Why did Borders Books close, wasn't the unions. Why did linens-n-things and circuit city close? Wasn't the unions. Must be lazy private sector working thugs. The list goes on and on. Numerous nonunion companies go bankrupt and nothing is said. Only when Union companies that close is when the teapubs come and cry out.
Blame the union. Blame the union.

Unions support Dems, i agree, Dems support WORKERS. You(well maybe) and I. Dems are there for the workers. Repubs are there for the businesses and the filthy rich. From what I see in the Valley, nobody but a very select few should support the repubs. Unless you make over $300,000 and need to hide money from taxes, supporting the reapubs/teapubs is just plain crazy.

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21AnotherAverageCitizen(1174 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

DB, Dodge,

So why is it that so many Govt contract jobs let their people go and go bankrupt. It happens often. But some Owner makes a quick few million off the state after he pays kasich big bucks.

Just like the turnpike, sell it to china so china can pay Americans minimun wage.

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22fd6636(255 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

So, now consessions ARE NOT a concern to pro SB5 ers? This shows how the Ohio goverment keeps changing their movement to confuse voters in November. They wanted cuts, we gave em cuts. they wanted consessions, we gave em those too!! 1 billion in savings, and thats not what they want now!!! As the pro movement continues to change their demands, so do they confuse the undecideds, who will vote no for what they dont understand.But, those who DO understand, will vote NO ON 2!!! ps: Thanks for putting the entire bill in the vindicator. It is so confusing with their crossed out items and confusing passages that some of those who WOULD OF voted for the issue are now voting AGAINST it due to the confusing passages contained with in. Read page 132 where it states that all law makers are EXEMPT from the laws contained within SB5!! Love it!!!!! VOTE NO ISSUE 2, SAVE OHIO AND THE MIDDLE CLASS!!!

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23AnotherAverageCitizen(1174 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Just to make sure kasich is not going to pay more.

Read page 132 where it states that all law makers are EXEMPT from the laws contained within SB5!! Love it!!!!! VOTE NO ISSUE 2, SAVE OHIO AND THE MIDDLE CLASS!!!

BYE BYE sb5

Vote NO on issue 2

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24AnotherAverageCitizen(1174 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

http://www.weareohio.com/landing/zoev...

Vote NO on issue 2

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25doubled(210 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Do the proponents of SB realize that public employees already contribute 10%of their income to their pensions...It's required by PERS. Perhaps it's the matching contribution that you're so upset about.? I don't know, but apparently, neither do you.

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26doubled(210 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Hey Dan Moadus -- You said..".It really shows just how out of control the system is when they look at taking days off as a concession."

I hope you realize that their days off were UNPAID. So they voluntarily took a pay cut to help the county save money. -- Or are you just that stupid that you didn't realize that simple fact.

And i love your assertion that b/c they took days off, the taxpayers didn't get proper services on those days. I get it now...you want all the sevices of fully staffed departments - you just don't want to pay for them....Maybe you should try that logic in the private sector, see how it works out for you. My guess, if SB5 is upheld, a lot of people will be complaining about lack of service -- you want the gov't to run like a business, well the first rule of business is "you get what you pay for"...so vote for SB5 - no problem, but don't complain if the gov't services aren't there for you.

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27doubled(210 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Hey Phil -- why would you say public sector employees make 43% more than private sector employees when every study I have ever seen -- and i've looked around a lot to find out the correct info -- says that they earn 15-20% less but have a colllege matriculation rate 25% higher than their "counterparts" in the private sector....I have to tell you, I went back and checked out several of your posts on this SB5 issue, and from an objective perspective, you provide quite a bit of patently false information on these pages...I'm wondering why b/c you seem fairly intelligent -- so why wouldn't you just provide the correct info -- if you believe it supports the passage of SB5...that's troubling to me.

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28doubled(210 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

The only logical conclusion that any reasonable person can take away from this article is the 2 yrs before kasich became governor, your public employees ackowledged that costs need to be checked and that your public employees took affirmative action to reign in spending....All this before kasich or SB5 was even a thought -- That and the fact that these concessions saved the state and counties a lot of money. My opinion, i really don't see public employees trying to gouge anyone....plus, they don't even make a lot of money anyway, especially the ones that have degrees.If the y left they'd probablty earn more, plus bonuses. I guess I'm just not seeing why some people seem to be out to target them as causing the problems we face.

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