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September 2011, Week 3

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Tue, 20 Sep 2011 20:32:20 -0400
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State workers fear pay cuts
Kasich officials say Issue 2 is about efficiences, not public worker pay.
By Laura A. Bischoff,
Dayton Daily News
September 20, 2011
http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/ohio-news/state-workers-fear-pay-cuts-1256092.html

COLUMBUS — Just a few weeks after Ohio voters decide
whether to keep or kill Senate Bill 5, state officials
and labor leaders will head to the bargaining table
around the holidays to start negotiating new contracts
that will cover38,567 unionized state workers.

If Issue 2 passes, the
two sides won’t have much to talk about. Grievance
procedures, layoff rules, shift assignments, staffing
minimums, health care coverage and scores of other
items will be off the table. The union could still
bargain on working conditions and wages, but management
would have the right to impose its last offer if the
two sides reach impasse.

“I think they have a plan to
go heavy on (unpaid) furlough days, especially in some
agencies. I think we will take a major step back and
see an attack on the 40-hour work week,” said Tim
Shafer, operations director for the Ohio Civil Service
Employees Association, which represents about 30,000
state workers.

Not so, said Dan Kaman, legislative
agent for the state Department of Administrative
Services, which negotiates the contracts on behalf of
the administration. His message to state workers:
“Whatever you’re making before Senate Bill 5, you’ll
make after Senate Bill 5.” During the next several
weeks, and particularly
 as the opposing ad campaigns
kick in, voters will be inundated with claims and
counter-claims about the bill that led to Issue 2, the
referendum on the November ballot. To give readers as
much information as possible, the Dayton Daily News
this week is examining the bill’s impacts on both
workers and taxpayers.

State workers — today’s focus —
are affected slightly differently than other
 public
employees. Two provisions in Senate Bill 5, for
example, will have no impact on the pocketbooks of
state workers: pension pickups and health care
premiums. The bill would require workers to pay the
entire employee contribution toward their retirement
and contribute at least 15 percent of their health care
premiums. State workers already do both.

Rob Nichols,
press secretary for Gov. John Kasich, said state
workers are already living under conditions that would
be imposed by Senate Bill 5. The goal of the bill, he
said, wasn’t intended to achieve savings on state
workers, but to provide more flexibility to local
schools and local governments so that they can better
manage their work forces.

Union officials, however, say
many of the protections they’ve long fought for would
be gone if the bill becomes law And they say their
members have already made concessions to help out the
state. The current three-year contracts, which expire
April 12, included 20 unpaid days off, pay freezes and
health care concessions that amounted to more than $250
million in givebacks.

“These people stood up and
answered the call. They’re not only public employees,
they’re citizens of Ohio and taxpayers of Ohio. We are
accountable to all,” said Christopher Mabe, a prison
guard who was just elected the union’s president.

State workers pay 16.9 percent of the health care premium
for a single plan and 17.8 percent for family plan
coverage, according to the State Employment Relations
Board health care survey. However, under SB 5 the union
will have no say in what sort of health plans are
offered and what kind of co-pays workers face.

Here are some of the bill’s other impacts: 

Merit pay State workers would see a big change in
compensation rules if Senate Bill 5 becomes law.

Longevity pay and step increases would be replaced with
a merit pay system. Workers would be evaluated on the
communication skills, technical knowledge, reliability,
teamwork, customer service and other factors, Kaman said.

High performing employees would be eligible for more pay,
including the 25,500 state workers who have already reached
their highest pay level in their current classifications, he
said.

Shafer and Mabe counter that the union contract
already has a provision that tied step raises to
employee performance, but they say managers rarely
conduct thorough worker evaluations. “It’s
time-consuming and it comes down to a lot of
supervisors don’t know what their subordinates do in
their jobs,” said Shafer.

Banking leave time Senate Bill 5 would impose more
restrictions and caps on how much paid leave time they
are allowed to bank and later cash in.

For example, banked vacation would be capped
at 600 hours, instead of the current 720 hours, and
workers who leave state service could only cash out up
to 1,000 hours of banked sick time, Kaman said. This
could help limit some of the huge payouts that
sometimes occur when an employee leaves public service,
SB5 backers have said. Workplace safety Mabe and Shafer
said they are worried about what will happen to
workplace safety rules if Senate Bill 5 becomes law.

[For the entire article, go to http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/ohio-news/state-workers-fear-pay-cuts-1256092.html]
																									State workers fear pay cuts
Kasich officials say Issue 2 is about efficiences, not public worker pay.
By Laura A. Bischoff,
Dayton Daily News
September 20, 2011
http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/ohio-news/state-workers-fear-pay-cuts-1256092.html

COLUMBUS — Just a few weeks after Ohio voters decide
whether to keep or kill Senate Bill 5, state officials
and labor leaders will head to the bargaining table
around the holidays to start negotiating new contracts
that will cover38,567 unionized state workers.

If Issue 2 passes, the
two sides won’t have much to talk about. Grievance
procedures, layoff rules, shift assignments, staffing
minimums, health care coverage and scores of other
items will be off the table. The union could still
bargain on working conditions and wages, but management
would have the right to impose its last offer if the
two sides reach impasse.

“I think they have a plan to
go heavy on (unpaid) furlough days, especially in some
agencies. I think we will take a major step back and
see an attack on the 40-hour work week,” said Tim
Shafer, operations director for the Ohio Civil Service
Employees Association, which represents about 30,000
state workers.

Not so, said Dan Kaman, legislative
agent for the state Department of Administrative
Services, which negotiates the contracts on behalf of
the administration. His message to state workers:
“Whatever you’re making before Senate Bill 5, you’ll
make after Senate Bill 5.” During the next several
weeks, and particularly
 as the opposing ad campaigns
kick in, voters will be inundated with claims and
counter-claims about the bill that led to Issue 2, the
referendum on the November ballot. To give readers as
much information as possible, the Dayton Daily News
this week is examining the bill’s impacts on both
workers and taxpayers.

State workers — today’s focus —
are affected slightly differently than other
 public
employees. Two provisions in Senate Bill 5, for
example, will have no impact on the pocketbooks of
state workers: pension pickups and health care
premiums. The bill would require workers to pay the
entire employee contribution toward their retirement
and contribute at least 15 percent of their health care
premiums. State workers already do both.

Rob Nichols,
press secretary for Gov. John Kasich, said state
workers are already living under conditions that would
be imposed by Senate Bill 5. The goal of the bill, he
said, wasn’t intended to achieve savings on state
workers, but to provide more flexibility to local
schools and local governments so that they can better
manage their work forces.

Union officials, however, say
many of the protections they’ve long fought for would
be gone if the bill becomes law And they say their
members have already made concessions to help out the
state. The current three-year contracts, which expire
April 12, included 20 unpaid days off, pay freezes and
health care concessions that amounted to more than $250
million in givebacks.

“These people stood up and
answered the call. They’re not only public employees,
they’re citizens of Ohio and taxpayers of Ohio. We are
accountable to all,” said Christopher Mabe, a prison
guard who was just elected the union’s president.

State workers pay 16.9 percent of the health care premium
for a single plan and 17.8 percent for family plan
coverage, according to the State Employment Relations
Board health care survey. However, under SB 5 the union
will have no say in what sort of health plans are
offered and what kind of co-pays workers face.

Here are some of the bill’s other impacts: 

Merit pay State workers would see a big change in
compensation rules if Senate Bill 5 becomes law.

Longevity pay and step increases would be replaced with
a merit pay system. Workers would be evaluated on the
communication skills, technical knowledge, reliability,
teamwork, customer service and other factors, Kaman said.

High performing employees would be eligible for more pay,
including the 25,500 state workers who have already reached
their highest pay level in their current classifications, he
said.

Shafer and Mabe counter that the union contract
already has a provision that tied step raises to
employee performance, but they say managers rarely
conduct thorough worker evaluations. “It’s
time-consuming and it comes down to a lot of
supervisors don’t know what their subordinates do in
their jobs,” said Shafer.

Banking leave time Senate Bill 5 would impose more
restrictions and caps on how much paid leave time they
are allowed to bank and later cash in.

For example, banked vacation would be capped
at 600 hours, instead of the current 720 hours, and
workers who leave state service could only cash out up
to 1,000 hours of banked sick time, Kaman said. This
could help limit some of the huge payouts that
sometimes occur when an employee leaves public service,
SB5 backers have said. Workplace safety Mabe and Shafer
said they are worried about what will happen to
workplace safety rules if Senate Bill 5 becomes law.

[For the entire article, go to http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/ohio-news/state-workers-fear-pay-cuts-1256092.html]

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