Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Collective bargaining and push polling. I told you so!

Yesterday I commented on how two recent polls about the collective bargaining issue were biased, because the questions were posed as stripping people of "rights", and argued that the collective bargaining power currently given to public-sector unions in Ohio is a privilege, not a right. It's my argument that the public is much more evenly divided on the subject than the lopsided results of those two biased polls indicate.

In perfect timing to my post, Quinnipiac has released a new poll this morning, and as usual, they didn't push for a certain answer, unlike the notorious CBS and USA Today polls I discussed previously. Here is how they posed the question.

In order to reduce state budget deficits, would you support or oppose limiting collective bargaining for public employees?

Guess what? 45% support, 42% oppose.

They also found that people agree, by a 2-1 margin, that public employees should pay more for their benefits and retirement.

Which is exactly what limiting collective bargaining is all about, allowing state and local governments to better manage their costs and our taxpayer dollars.

Props to Quinnipiac for conducting a fair and unbiased poll on the issue. They asked a proper question without adding in the emotional tripwire by including inappropriate terms such as "rights".

I told you so.

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  1. It was indeed perfect timing -- it was almost as though Quinnipiac was reading your mail....and I agree the result was welcome.

    However, as the two "push polls ' demonstrated the public is very malable on this issue.

    The very idea that some would entertain the notion that collective bargaining is a "right" is just one more indicator of how generally uninformed a big segment of the populations is -- hopefully the likely voters are so not equally unthinking.

    But even folks who should know better are buying some of that arguement.

    I hesitate to say this but Bill Seitz was to vote no in committee before he was replaced.

    Seitz was on Bill Cunningham last week and outlined his key objections to SB5. His big objections were:

    That police and fire fighters probably should not be included and that certainly they should be allowed to bargain on safety equipment and issues -- guns, vests, respirators, shift hours etc. (I agree with this).

    Also he wanted some aspects of seniority rights to be revived. (I think I partly agree with this one)

    He got his way on the police and fireman safety issue -- the bill was so amended -- and still planned to vote "no"!

    But what really got to me was Cunninghan today telling his listeners what I consider to be untruths:

    1) that Seitz had not had a chance to "study" the bill (well the Senator is actually a member of the Commerece committee after all; (wso who is lying here?)

    2) that police and firemen still would not have the right to bargain on safety matters (that is flat out wrong -- and he should know it);

    3) that democrats had not been allowed to submit ammenedments (my understanding is that they refused to submit amendments).

    He concluded that Senator Jones and Governor Kasich were taking the GOP off a cliff because he claims the bill would be voted down in a November referendum.

    Now I know Bill Cunningham is a lawyer but I thought, even so he was still honest? Well maybe.

    I know Cunningham has it in for Senator Jones because she sent his friend from Madeira back home in the primary.

    But Bill Cunningham has lost a lot of my respect -- not that he would care of course.

  2. You are right. Collective bargaining is not a right. However, making public employees pay more for healthcare and pensions can be done without getting rid of collective bargaining. Put the laws in place about premium payments and pension premium increases and allow districts to negotiate with their teachers on how to increase these payments. Negotiations are positive and can continue to be so without removing collective bargaining.

  3. Maria, why do you say remove collective bargaining? That is union spin and not true.

    OB5 does not eliminate collective bargaining it merely restricts it to wages. Police and fire fighers can engage in collective bargaining for safety matters -- I agree with that.

    There is simply no need or fair reason for school teachers and state office workers to have a union that outranks the elected officials and the taxpayers to represent them. Most of the rest of us have nothing like that.

    Only 10% of the private sector jobs are union --so most jobs in the USA are already non-union why do state public employees NEED a union?

    There are 200,000 public employees in the Federal government. Federal employee unions can only bargain for things like office space, and grievance procedures.

    Every year Congress sets the federal pay scale and that is the end of it -- NO APPEALS.

    Why do Ohio state workers need something extra? It is merely a sense of entitlement I believe.

    And really did the Ohio public unions expect the Kasich was going to be their best buddy after they spend millions for union dues on a smear campaign in last fall? Reap what ye sow.

  4. Our jobs are not similar to any in the public sector that I know of. I also believe that campaigns go bothh ways I their smearing. That is what happens at every level of government. Clearly the union's smearing did not work since Kasich is now our governor. However, I do believe that the smearing, as you call it, against Kasich became personal for our Republican legislators since they have so swiftly reacted in this way. My pioint is that we should all behave as mature adults and discuss our issues. At this time, we can still negotiate our wages based on merit pay. What that means has yet to be determined. We are at he mercy of our government.

  5. Just wondering if this journalist is a liar too? The public-sector workers on which our future depends”

  6. I don't know if the writer you cite in instapaper is a liar -- the site is not accessible unless you have an account so I did not read it.

    But if that person's thesis is that public employees are necessay and that public unions are needed to have public employees -- I'd say that is rubbish.

    Many states have no public unions -- they are right-to-work -- yet they still have public employees who are doing fine.

    Your job is different? Probably. But really, most jobs are different -- public or private sector. Nurse's jobs are not like truck driver's and so forth. We depend on all segments of our society.

    But while the public employees do indeed provide valuble services their benfits and retirement funds are what is breaking the back of the Ohio budget.

    We have a county level police chief in this area who will soon retire and his retirment package for less than 30 years was published. (its public record).

    The chief goes out the door with a lifetime annuity of $150K per year, plus free medical for life, plus a one time lump sum payment of over $1M (yeah million -- six zeros) for backpay, bonuses, and unused vacation and sick leave.

    Now he was a fine cop and good police captain. But how many tax payers are needed to support this one man's retirement? And how many others retired that same week? What sense does this make?

    If the current system goes on it is more than likely that you and your co-workers won't get anything but IOU's when you finally get ready to retire.

    More than ANY group the Ohio public employees should be embracing the reforms because they are the ones who will be left holding empty promises.

    Either the system is reformed and made sustainable or everyone ends up holding an empty sack.

    Yet the public employees are the ones fighting it. The unions are not fighting for the employees -- they are fighting for the unions. They want your dues.

    Makes no sense to me.

    I do not think you answered my question. If federal workers do not have (or need?) a union. Why do state employees?

  7. Don't have time to respond right now, bur see if you can open this.

  8. I got to that link thanks. First, I think Matt Miller seems to be making an effort to be fair but missed on his analysis. (reading between the lines he is clearly on the unions side).

    He acknowldeges that the arrangement between public workers, their unions, and liberal politicians is "...a conspiracy to roll taxpayers...". That is what I am saying too.

    I take his point that it unfair and unprincipled breaks (taxes or special rights) given to business are also not fair to tax payer. Unless they are done with a public purpose -- e.g., to to keep jobs or create new jobs.

    But then Miller goes off the rails. Yes, the concessions want by Governor Walker MAY only amount to 10% of the state's budget problem. (His assessment of the savings -- and how in the world is 10% is ONLY!! that is huge savings --IMO).

    But he is wrong anyway. He thinks the increases in pay backs into health and retirement funds are the whole story. WRONG!

    The biggest part of the savings comes in the out-years from the reforming the public employee bargaining system. So that down the road the state does not continue to be railroaded in to these ridiculous unfair and unaffordable arrangements.

    Matt Miller either does not understand this or chooses to ignore it. I don't know which.

    He last sentence is kind of a demonstration of his lack of overall understanding -- I think.

    "Remember, Scott Walker, the only people who can change this for Wisconsin's children will be public-sector workers. Whatever you do to fix the budget, you better fix this, too."

    That's the whole point Mr. Miller to reform how teachers are hired, paid, and retained.

    Why, if the current system is so good in Wisconsin, where the teachers are among the BEST paid in USA, are the Wisconsin students scoring at the BOTTOM in standardized tests compared to other states?

    Also, he only presents teacher base pays -- their actual benefits from their jobs (medical, benefits and 3 months off work) add up to a job a lot of people want. The answer is not just more pay.


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