OH Public Employee Collective Bargaining Law


A friend of mine who is a teacher in Ohio sent me and a group of teachers a summary of Ohio’s Senate Bill 5 which, clearly kills unions. Here’s the summary:

BILL SUMMARY | The Public Employee Collective Bargaining Law:

State employees and employees of state institutions of higher education:

  • Abolishes the collective bargaining rights of employees of the state, of any agency, authority, commission, or board of the state, and of any state institution of higher education.
  • Prohibits the state, agencies, authorities, commissions, and boards of the state, and a state institution of higher education from collectively bargaining with its employees.
  • Abolishes the Office of Collective Bargaining.

Police and fire department supervisors:

  • Removes a limitation on the definition of “supervisor” with respect to members of police and fire departments, potentially making more people supervisors and ineligible to collectively bargain.

Contract employees and employees of regional councils of government:

  • Excludes persons working pursuant to a contract between a public employer and private employer and over whom the National Labor Relations Board has declined jurisdiction from those persons eligible for collective bargaining.
  • Excludes employees of a regional council of government from those persons eligible for collective bargaining.

Rights of public employees:

  • Removes continuation, modification, or deletion of an existing collective bargaining agreement from the subject of collective bargaining.
  • Removes a provision granting specific authority to public school employees to collectively bargain for health care benefits.
  • Authorizes public employees to refuse any representation by an exclusive representative or an employee organization.

Open shops:

  • Makes any agreement that purports to require that employees join any exclusive representation void and unenforceable.

Subjects for collective bargaining:

  • Makes the following inappropriate subjects for collective bargaining: (1) employer-paid contributions to any of the five public employee retirement systems and (2) health care benefits for which the employer is required to pay more than 80% of the cost.
  • Permits public employers to not bargain on any subject reserved to the management and direction of the governmental unit, even if the subject affects wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment.

Collective bargaining agreement provisions and approval:

  • Prohibits a collective bargaining agreement from prohibiting a public employer that is in a state of fiscal emergency from serving a written notice to terminate, modify, or negotiate the agreement.
  • Prohibits a public employer from agreeing to a provision in a collective bargaining agreement that requires the public employer, when a reduction in force is necessary, to use employee length of service as the only factor when making layoffs.
  • Prohibits a public employer from agreeing to a provision in a collective bargaining agreement that requires the employer to pay more than 80% of the cost paid for benefits.

Conflicting provisions of agreements:

  • Makes laws pertaining to the provision of health care benefits to public employees prevail over conflicting collective bargaining agreements.

School districts, educational service centers, community schools, and STEM schools:

  • Prohibits a public employer that is a school district, educational service center, community school, or STEM school from entering into a collective bargaining agreement that does specified things, such as establishing a maximum number of students who may be assigned to a classroom or teacher.
  • Requires collective bargaining agreements between such an education-related public employer and public employees to comply with all applicable state or local laws or ordinances regarding wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment, unless the conflicting provision establishes benefits that are less than provided in the law or ordinance.
  • Requires the parties to consider, during negotiations, the financial status of the public employer at the time period surrounding the negotiations for purposes of determining the ability of the employer to pay for any agreed terms.
  • Prohibits the parties from basing the ability of the employer to pay for terms of the agreement on potential future increases in the employer’s income that would only be possible by the employer obtaining funding from an outside source, including the passage of a levy or a bond issue.

Dispute resolution procedures, strikes, and unfair labor practices:

  • Revises collective bargaining dispute resolution procedures.
  • Requires the employer and the State Employment Relations Board to post in a conspicuous location on the web site maintained by the board and the employer the terms of the last collective bargaining agreements offered by the employer and the exclusive representative at specific times.
  • Revises the factors that a person or group administering an alternate dispute resolution procedure must take into account.
  • If either party rejects a fact finding panel’s recommendations, permits the public employer to implement, in whole or in part, any of those recommendations that have been approved by the appropriate legislative authority.
  • Removes the mandatory final offer settlement conciliation procedure for public employees who do not have the right to strike.
  • Requires a public employer to report certain information about compensation paid to public employees under a collective bargaining agreement.
  • Specifies that expressions of views, opinions, and arguments are not unfair labor practices, and cannot be used as evidence of such, without a threat.
  • Repeals the provision requiring the Public Employee Collective Bargaining Law to be liberally construed.
  • Allows public employers to set aside any provision in an existing collective bargaining agreement in the event of a fiscal emergency.

Public employee pay:

  • Requires merit-based pay for most public employees, including teachers and nonteaching school employees and board and commission members, and makes other, related changes.
  • Generally eliminates statutory salary schedules and steps.

Public employee benefits:

  • Abolishes the School Employees Health Care Board, the School Employees Health Care Fund, and the Public Schools Health Care Advisory Committee, and allows the board of education of any school district to govern employee health care benefits in the same way as the governing board of any public institution of higher education.
  • Limits public employer contributions toward health insurance premiums to 80%.
  • Requires boards of education to adopt policies to provide leave with pay for school employees and abolishes statutorily provided leave for those employees.
  • Abolishes continuing contracts for teachers, except for those continuing contracts in existence prior to the effective date of the bill.
  • Prohibits a public employer from paying employee contributions to certain retirement systems.

Reduction in the public sector work force:

  • Removes consideration of seniority and of length of service, by itself, from decisions regarding a reduction in work force of certain public employees.
  • Makes changes to retention point provisions, including changes concerning the calculation of retention points and the layoff procedures when retention points for two employees are the same.
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