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Mayors pander to union voters

Published: Thu, September 29, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

Mayors pander to union voters

There was an article in last Saturday’s paper reporting that area mayors are opposing Senate Bill 5, or Issue 2. If there has ever been a more blatant display of pandering for union votes, I haven’t seen it. These people ought to be ashamed.

In the world of labor/management relations, which is inherently adversarial, SB 5 is a tool to give public sector management a stronger hand. The fact that these politicians oppose the bill speaks volumes.

As an area politician, I have an opinion as to why they did this. First, they know that politicians in the Mahoning Valley who oppose the unions do not get re-elected. Secondly, they know that SB 5 does away with arbitration, putting the decisions in the negotiating process back in their hands. They can no longer claim that their hands were tied during negotiation by saying, “The arbitrator made me do it.” They also know that SB 5 provides for public scrutiny of the negotiating process and the ability for the taxpayer to participate through public hearings when there is a stalemate. Politicians who claim to have the taxpayers best interests at heart, but behind closed doors go along with union demands, will no longer have this cloak of secrecy.

If you sat on the board of directors of a corporation and you learned that your CEO attended a union meeting where a strike vote was taking place and encouraged a yes vote, what would your reaction be? The public actions of these mayors, and many other area politicians are no different. While they have a moral obligation to treat their employees fairly and to compensate them as best they can, their first obligation is to be a good shepherds of taxpayers’ dollars. When times are tough their duty is to stretch our tax dollars as far as possible in order to maintain public services, even if this means compensating each employee less in order to achieve it. SB 5 (Issue 2) provides the tools to do just that.

You should remember which politicians opposed SB 5 and send them a message come next election, that they were sent to represent you. Vote yes on Issue 2.

Daniel Moadus Jr., Girard


1VINDYAK(1803 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

You have to understand where you live. This has been union and Democrat territory for many, many years because of the industry that operated here in the valley.

Valley industry required labor, and that labor became organized into unions. The unions enabled workers and families to improve their working conditions and lives from the 1930's through the 1960's. After WWII our local economy boomed with growth in industry, housing, schools and cities. Times were good, work was plentiful and industry continued to bend to union demands in order to keep production going.

Then in the 1970's, after many industries began leaving the Valley, unions began to organize workers in the public sector... those working for local and state governments. This created quite some controversy, as many folks felt that people working in government should not be allowed to be organized into unions, as striking against government would be harmful and dangerous. Public workers won out, after many emotional, legal battles.

Throuhout the 1980's, 1990's and into the new century labor issues settled down and most industrial workers found new jobs earning fair to good income with good working conditions and less unions. Then the recession hit in 2008 and people started loosing their jobs. Lay-offs, business shutdowns, industry closings and families losing their homes.

Unemployment is now at 9.1% and families are still hurting. Many have had to take lesser paying jobs just to keep food on the table. Broken families and divorces are up. Paying taxes to support massive state and local governments is overwhelming for many of us. Just about every state and local government entity is over-budget and needs to cut expenses. We elected new government officials, but we are not over the hump, yet.

We need to raise taxes across the board if we want to maintain our current pace because we have run out of areas to cut. This is not acceptable to most of us, as we cannot afford the additional tax burdeon. The next step is to cut government expenses even further by reducing employee costs. This can be accomplished thru laying off of employees, or adjusting their compensation packages.

I vote for adjusting compensation packages and keeping those employees working. Vote YES on Issue 2, keep SB5 in place and keep families working! Let's not put another family out onto the street looking for work they cannot find. Keep Ohio working, vote YES on Issue 2.

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2piak(508 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

The mayors mostly come from Demcratic party backgrounds. What would you expect them to do? You're right! They come down against Issue 2.

@ Vindyak: You are correct in what you've written and in your conclusion. I've been griping about the fact that there is no clause in these contracts that state "The ability to pay the promised benefits are contingent upon the population and general community income, based on median wage figures".

Either a loss of population (as has happened in the Valley) or a low median income (compared to the median incomes of the affected employees) will affect the community's ability to honor the contract. No one foresaw the economic disaster that has hit this area.

NO ONE wants to put people out of a job or "steal their food and impoverish" them as the ads imply. Those ads are nothing but blatant propaganda.

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3Dan_Moadus(33 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Something "saveourcountry" fails to understand is the special nature of public service and public service jobs. Where the military serves the country, a police or fire department serves their community. It is not about the soldier in the military and it is not about the safety forces. If the general decides that five men is all he can spare to go on patrol, the soldiers don't get to decide that they need nine. And so it is with public service jobs. The employee is not supposed to be the primary concern, their task is. We have to trust that the legislators will strike a good balance between the employees interest and the public interest.

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4Phil_Eng_Amer(10 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Clearly what politicians fear here is a loss of voting support. We’ve created a vicious cycle where unions throw millions of dollars at unions and in return give them back lucrative compensation packages (). The problem of course is that this model is unsustainable because it creates a system that continually awards state and local employees a total compensation package that far outstrips those found in the private sector (http://eng.am/pZofYR). Once these contracts get locked in, we run into massive problems. While the majority of the country has seen their compensation decrease during this recent economic downturn, the public sector has actually seen their compensation increase (http://eng.am/pn5weF).

Clearly this is an issue in Ohio (), and if it’s not SB5, then some piece of legislation must be enacted to bring the system in line.

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5northsideperson(365 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Well said, theotherside!

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6VINDYAK(1803 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Today I saw a commercial on tv encouraging people to vote no on Issue 2. The speaker was supposedly a nurse who said that SB5 prevents her and her fellow nurses from negotiating the amount of nurses on staff, which hurts their ablility to help people.

This absolutely floored me. Nurses have the ability to negotiate the number of nurses on staff?!? What other industry allows their employees to negotiate the number of employees on their shift?

This reminds me of a time in my life when I lay in a hospital bed listening to my doctor and nurse discuss my case. The doctor recommends to the nurse that my bandages be changed. The nurse said "I'll have a nurses aide come in and do it. I don't change bandages" The doctor says " I don't have a union like you do". They both walked out and a nurses aide came in later to change my bandages.

This is compassionate health care at its best! Please don't get me started on health care! Vote YES for SB5 ... Vote yes on Issue 2!

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7Dan_Moadus(33 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

The problem with how the a current collective bargaining system works is that there is only one "stakeholder" at the negotiation table, the employee. Neither the politician nor the arbitrator has anything to lose as they are not negotiating for their incomes. And worse; In my town and probably many others the administration's compensation is based on what the employees get. It the employees get a better deal on health care, so does the administrators. Who's representing the taxpayer in that relationship?

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8walter_sobchak(2116 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

I have repeatedly made the same argument. In the private sector, there is an adversarial relationship between the union and management. The union wants more money that has to come out of the pockets of the owners. In the public sector, the money comes from the pockets of the taxpayer and we must hope that the government "management" will be good stewards of the tax dollars. Fat Chance! Their compensation will be based on what the union gets. Both sides win and the taxpayer loses. This is why govt offices don't use zero-base budgeting. Vote Yes on Issue 2 to restore some sanity in govt budgeting.

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9ytown1(395 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Mainly because the few which are the Union employees, their family and friends are the voting few and the vast majority of their constituants are so disgusted with the politics of politics they stay away from the voting polls.

If you actually knew the makeup of the voting public and they are the unions and their familes and friends who would you pander too if it meant reelection or not.

Plain and simple, these mayors should be ashamed of themselves, they pandered to the unions and the know it. Vote them all out. We need mayors that will keep the costs in line and not give away the farm to these people.

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10VINDYAK(1803 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Vote YES for Issue 2. It is the only sensible way to solve our financial mess our Ohio governments are in.

Don't be intimidated by union retoric that sidesteps the issue and paints gloom and doom to their rank and file. This is only a ploy to win your vote. Vote YES for SB5, Vote YES on Issue 2.

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11VINDYAK(1803 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

I see the otherside is coming over to my way of thinking...almost...Vote YES for Issue 2. It is the only sensible way to solve our financial mess our Ohio governments are in.

Don't be intimidated by union retoric that sidesteps the issue and paints gloom and doom to their rank and file. This is only a ploy to win your vote. Vote YES for SB5, Vote YES on Issue 2.

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12Philo(99 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

It's common knowledge that unions eat their own young. The older union members nearly always sacrifice the younger union members for their own greedy self interests. Rather than accept a reasonable reduction in pay and benefits, teachers, police and fireman would rather see the younger teachers, policemen and firemen laid off. Then, they have the audacity to talk about unsafe or difficult working conditions due to lack of manpower. And in schools this mentality hurts the kids. Although I have no objections to private sector unions there is just no room for unions in the public sector and they should be outlawed altogether. If that makes public sector jobs less desireable, so be it. There are many others who would be glad to have the jobs even at reduced pay and benefits. Just ask any of the hundreds of young people here in the valley with a teaching certificate who can't get a teaching job anywhere. Ultimately, SB 5 or some other legislation will be upheld because the current system is unsustainable. If by some miricle however, SB 5 is recalled, then the voters should never pass another levy anywhere in the state, regardless of the need.

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13Dan_Moadus(33 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Maybe the teachers should have been using their political power to change those conditions instead of passing around petitions to stop Ohio's new election law.

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14Philo(99 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Fortunately, this problem will resolve itself in reasonably short order, regardless of the outcome of Issue 2. If SB 5 is upheld,(even though it doesn't go far enough and outlaw public sector unions altogether) it will provide some tools to keep costs under control. If SB 5 is overturned there will be a voter backlash and it will be difficult, if not impossible to ever get a levy passed no matter how badly the money is needed. The end result of not passing levies is that more public sector union employees will be laid off and less will be paying dues, since the senior union members will most certainly sacrifice their younger union brethern. This is an unsustainable model and in the end, the public sector unions will strangle themselves with their own greed and obstructionism.

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15Dan_Moadus(33 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Oh; so the Democrat party doesn't want to permanently hold onto power and relegate the Republicans to permanent minority status? This is just a Republican goal right?

This is nothing more than battle of "personal interests" vs. the "public interests".

So you don't see the problem when a retiring Police chief walks away with a check of $564.000 and his full pension. Do you actually think this is sustainable?

SB5 (Issue2) is nothing more than a reaction to a system that doesn't work. It is in the public interest to create some flexibility in employee compensation where there currently isn't enough to enable the maintenance of public services. The very fact that cities and school systems have to reduce staffing and services when finances dwindle instead of reducing employee costs proves that the current system of negotiations do not work.

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16Dan_Moadus(33 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Well, how's that collective bargaining and arbitration working out for us? It's not. Just look at all the school systems and cities that have to cut back on the service they provide, simply because there was no provisions to roll back employee cost when the tax base shrinks. The public worker is being lied to by their leadership. SB5 is the first and most benign attempt at easing them into the new economic reality. My guess is just as in the PATCO affair, they will overplay their hand until they no longer exist. Which by the way will happen when the taxpayer gets fed up enough.

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17Dan_Moadus(33 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Maybe "saveourcountry" will be kind enough to cite some of the "across the board" give backs he claims. I would particularly like to see where any public employee union has ever agreed to a wage rollback.

And maybe "education_voter" will give us a few examples of the incorrect information he claims we keep repeating.

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18Dan_Moadus(33 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Only someone who works in the public sector would call accepting a one percent raise, when two percent was offered, a cut. And only someone working in the public sector would view having a seven year wage freeze as a cut, as if it's a "right" to have a pay raise each and every year.

And I really love where "saveourcountry" says that most private sector healthcare packages allow for some sort of income to still be brought home when on sick leave. On sick leave, what the heck is that? Could anyone have a more naive opinion than that?

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19co060759(4 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

What some people might not know is that in school when a person gets rehired after their date of retirement they do not keep any raises. They actually go back to starting salary.

So in some cases this is a great deal for schools. They get an experienced teacher for less money.

Not all teachers are good, but most are and they work for little pay. Starting rate around here is 31000.

Not all that much money considering the cost of college and the degree requirements. Also teachers are required to further their education by attending additional classes. In most cases this comes out of the teachers pocket.

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20co060759(4 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Taking a 1% pay raise when the cost of living has gone up more than 1% sure seems like a give back to me.

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21Dan_Moadus(33 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Actually, giving the final say to elected officials is mainly a reaction to the many decisions made by arbitrators that cost cities more than they could afford. You may look at an arbitrator as a neutral party, and is a sense they are, but the arbitration system does not work. Witness all the cities and school systems who ended up in Fiscal Emergencies because they did not have the needed flexibility to deal with shrinking revenues. What's wrong with giving the decision over to people who have to answer to the voters every two years? And please, don't you think you're stretching when you try to convince anyone that the private sector unions (what's left of them) will be attacked. Just remember, you people are putting your personal interests ahead of the public interests.

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22VINDYAK(1803 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Ohio Public Sector workers are paid 43.4 % more than private-sector workers. A report prepared for the Ohio Business Roundtable by Andrew G. Biggs, Ph.D. and Jason Richwine, Ph.D.

Opponents of SB 5 argue that Ohio public workers currently receive less compensation than they could
receive in the private sector, and that SB 5 would worsen the problem. This report compares current
public‐ and private‐sector compensation in Ohio, focusing on how the wages, benefits, and job security
of public employees compare to those of private‐sector workers with similar skills. We conclude that:
• Ohio public employees receive nearly the same wages as comparable private workers (2.5 percent
less), but
• Fringe benefits for Ohio public workers are more than twice as generous as those paid in the private sector, meaning that when pay and benefits are taken into consideration public workers receive 31.2
percent more in total compensation than private‐sector counterparts.
• Ohio Public employees enjoy significantly greater job security than private‐sector workers. That job
security has an economic value equal to approximately 10 percent of compensation.
In total, considering wages, benefits (including retirement), and the value of job security, Ohio public sector workers are paid 43.4 percent more than those in private‐sector employment.
• Even if the provisions of SB 5 were implemented in full, it is very likely that Ohio public‐sector workers
would continue to enjoy a substantial compensation premium over private‐sector Ohioans.

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23co060759(4 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

What formula do you use to quantify the job security public sector offers as equal to a 10% pay advantage?

Also the point that public sector jobs require a college degree seems to fall on deaf ears. The is an unequal comparison going on. It stands to simple logic that a college grad should make more and recieve better benefits compared to less educated worker. If this were not the case why would anyone willingly take the debt that college causes?

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24snydro0108(61 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

As an area politician, I have an opinion as to why they did this. First, they know that politicians in the Mahoning Valley who oppose the unions do not get re-elected.

THIS IS SO TRUE!!! PRO UNION gets you RE-ELECTED! PRO WORKER gets you defeated!

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25GFD940(1 comment)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

You need to do some fact checking on you statements. You keep using Chief Hughes as an example on why to vote yes on Issue 2. Here are some fallacies with your example:
1. Police and fire chiefs are NOT union members.
2. Your numbers are still way off any ways. You state that Chief Hughes received $564,000 upon retirement. See http://www.tribtoday.com/page/content.... There is a big difference between $65,539 and $564,000. If you are considering his DROP payout, then be honest and say that it cost the tax payer $0. It is a reinvestment of his retirement earnings. And what he did receive was due to being a good steward of tax dollars and using his sick time diligently.
3. Public employees are compassionate and do understand the current economic climate. We have made many concessions, taken pay freezes, paid more into our healthcare. The reason I went into public service (and the majority of others that have) is to help their communities.
Your letter is full of half-truths and outright distortions of reality. Please step away from the Kasich-Aid!

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26jupiter(116 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Moadus should stick to the cesspool that is Girard. Dan, this issue encompasses a lot more than your feeble mindedness can comprehend. Stick to more pressing issues, like which menu item at JibJab is the most popular.

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27disgustedjoker(48 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Enough is enough! Stop blaming the unions for the mistakes of upper management! If you elected competent politicians, you wouldnt be in this debate. How would it be fair for an employee who makes 30k a year to pay the same co-pays as Kasich who is earning 6 figures? This is an attack on working people and Kasich has to go! Look at all the money kasich wasted on securing his home instead of moving in to the mansion which already had the security! The state is in fiscal emergency and Kasich keeps creating new positions and hiring his croneys! Working Ohioans are not stupid Kasich and we wont stand for you attacks! See you at the polls.

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