The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting SB 5 to be possibly the most anti-faculty labor law…ever. Inserted into the last minute Omnibus Amendment was language specifically dealing with higher education that, like much of the last-minute page dump, was unexpected and only fully processed after passage. Full time faculty have had their current duties redefined as managerial, and are therefore ineligible for any collective bargaining unless they give up what are typically seen as basic faculty rights. Part time faculty and graduate student employees would now be recognized as potential bargaining units (something they’ve been fighting for), but apparently only so that the new SB 5 restrictions on things like striking will apply to them as well.
The stakes are high nationwide. Wisconsin is the first in a long line of states considering big changes to pay, benefits, work rules and the bargaining power of government workers. Ohio is next, voting soon on an equally dramatic limit on public employee rights. Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New Mexico are among the other states considering narrower changes in the government workforce. “This has nothing to do with efficient or effective government,” says Joe Rugola, head of Ohio’s largest public employee union, the Association of Public School Employees. “It has everything to do with depriving working families of a voice.” The unions are at odds with a wave of Republican governors who want to cut benefits to help close budget shortfalls and restore management authority in the workplace.
A day after hundreds of public employees jammed the Statehouse to protest a bill they believe will kill their unions, Gov. John Kasich said he is working on an even-tougher version, one that would punish workers who go on strike. If the Republican-controlled legislature doesn’t fashion a collective-bargaining reform bill to his liking, Kasich said yesterday, then he will include language in the coming state budget to enact the changes he wants. “I have my own proposal right now,” Kasich told reporters after a speech to the Ohio Newspaper Association in Columbus. “We would outlaw strikes, and the penalties would either be firing or docked wages,” the governor said. Asked what recourse public union workers would have under his proposal, Kasich said, “They have a job. They should continue to negotiate and try to come up with something.”
This fucking guy.
Seriously, what year is this? It’s like goddamn Newsies in Ohio right now, but with a lot less Christian Bale and a lot less happy ending.