FROM THE DESK OF STEPHEN CABOT: Tax payers, long upset about the extortionate powers of public-sector unions, are giving their whole-hearted support to courageous governors who are determined to curtail the inordinate money grabs made by those public-sector unions.
It started in Wisconsin, where Governor Scott Walker stood his ground against aggressive and often abusive pro-union demonstrators, and it has now spread to Ohio, where Governor John Kasich is proving to be even tougher than his neighbor Governor Walker.
While the Wisconsin law would permit workers to negotiate inflation-adjusted wages based on seniority, the law proposed in Ohio by Governor Kasich would permit workers to negotiate wages based on performance and merit only. In the private sector, workers normally receive salary increases based on performance and merit. The two are naturally tied together. And Governor Kasich would like to public-sector workers to be as responsible as private-sector workers are.
In addition, Ohio, unlike Wisconsin, would restrict negotiations on health insurance, sick leave, and vacations to the same level as those enjoyed by non-union government workers. In other words, there should be one rule for everyone: union workers should not be entitled to greater benefits than their non-union colleagues.
Again, unlike Wisconsin, Ohio would not permit unions to negotiate levels of staffing, teacher-student ratios, disciplinary procedures, and outsourcing. And binding arbitration to settle contract disputes would be eliminated. Finally, the same rules that don’t permit police and fire fighters to strike would apply to all government employees.
States, counties, and cities can no longer afford to spend outrageously large sums of money to meet the demands of avaricious unions. Debts are crippling states, and taxes are over-burdening the middle class. It’s time for public-sector unions to live by the same rules that govern free markets.