Saturday, March 05, 2011

350,000 Ohio public servants, your families and your friends...if you can't do something about this WE are history!

"No one can be a judge and advocate in their own cause," Seitz said. "That's called 'heads I win, tails you lose.'"
Bill Seitz (R)-Cincinnati. Seitz was one who was thrown off the committee by Tom Niehaus [(R) - New Richmond and Senate President] on the morning of the vote because Niehaus knew that Seitz would not back SB 5! Instead, Niehaus pulled the old "switcheroo" and replaced Seitz with his lackey, Sen. Cliff Hite (R) Findlay.
Union bill whizzing through Ohio Legislature
By ANN SANNER, Associated Press Ann Sanner, Associated Press
March 3, 2011
COLUMBUS, Ohio – While much of the nation's attention remains focused on a stalled proposal in Wisconsin to restrict collective bargaining rights for public workers, an Ohio measure that in some ways is tougher and broader is speeding toward reality.
A Senate panel and then the full chamber approved the Ohio measure Wednesday amid jeers from onlookers. The bill would restrict the collective bargaining rights of roughly 350,000 teachers, firefighters, police officers and other public employees, while Wisconsin's would affect about 175,000 workers and exempt police and firefighters.
"For as far-reaching this thing is and how many lives it will affect, I can't believe how fast it moved," said Columbus Police Sgt. Shaun Laird, who wanted lawmakers to spend more time debating the changes.
Wisconsin's bill remains in limbo after Democrats hightailed it for the Illinois border on the day the Senate was to adopt the bill. Their absence left the chamber one member short of the quorum needed for a vote.
In contrast, the Ohio bill could go as early as next week to House committee hearings. Republicans hold a 59-40 majority in the House, where the measure is likely to receive strong support.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican like his Wisconsin counterpart, Scott Walker, praised the development. Both have pushed the collective bargaining bills as part of budget-balancing measures.
"This is a major step forward in correcting the imbalance between taxpayers and the government unions that work for them," Kasich said.
The differences and similarities between the two proposals are many and nuanced, especially because lawmakers continue to debate and insert or subtract individual proposals. But to critics, at least one thing is clear: Both bills are meant to weaken the role of the unions.
"From the perspective of unions, both bills are punitive and would severely restrict what they have traditionally bargained over and what they have done as organizations," said Harley Shaiken, a professor at the University of California at Berkley who specializes in labor issues.
The Ohio bill would ban strikes by public workers and establish penalties for those who do participate in walkouts. State workers in Wisconsin are already prohibited from striking.
Unionized workers in Ohio could negotiate wages, hours and certain work conditions — but not health care, sick time or pension benefits. The measure would do away with automatic pay raises, and base future wage increases on merit.
Wisconsin's measure would forbid most government workers from collectively bargaining except over wage increases that aren't beyond the rate of inflation. Police and firefighters would be exempt.
Both states' capitols have been mobbed by protesters, Ohio's not as intensively as the two-week-long siege in Wisconsin. Protesters in Ohio were fewer Wednesday during the marquee vote in the Senate than they were the day before, when 8,500 demonstrators gathered inside and out.
"Shame!" firefighters and teachers shouted in the Senate chamber as the measure squeaked through on a 17-16 vote.
Standing in the rotunda afterward, Columbus firefighter Terry Marsh said he understood the Legislature's need to look for ways to save on costs and examine collective bargaining.
"But to ram something through within a few weeks is irresponsible, and to blame the budget woes of the state on the workers is a downright travesty," he said.
Ohio's legislation would also set up a new process to settle worker disputes, giving elected officials the final say in contract disagreements. Binding arbitration, which police officers and firefighters use to resolve contract disputes as an alternative to strikes, would be eliminated.
Republican Sens. Tim Grendell of Chesterland and Bill Seitz of Cincinnati spoke out against the new proposed way to resolve disputes. Grendell said the process would turn workers into beggars before city councils and other officials who oversee them.
"No one can be a judge and advocate in their own cause," Seitz said. "That's called 'heads I win, tails you lose.'"
Seitz had expressed disappointment in the bill and was removed from the panel by its leaders, a move that secured the votes needed to get the legislation before the full Senate.
Anthony Caldwell, spokesman for the Service Employees International Union, District 1199, said the union's focus will now turn to the House. Members there serve shorter terms and may be more vulnerable to repercussions at the ballot box than senators, he said.
"We hope that the members of the House will understand the valuable role working families play in their districts," he said. "The House is a two-year body. Whatever happens, people are going to remember that. This isn't just about union issues, this is about working people."

Clifford turned his back on his fellow educators and public servants, didn't he?

MARCH 2, 2011
Former Ohio teacher Cliff Hite votes to strip collective bargaining from teachers
In politics some things go beyond just simple votes. A politician has to answer to their constituents, donors, and even the party they belong to. On Wednesday March 2nd, the political bill came due for Ohio State Senator Cliff Hite (R-Findlay). He owed a debt to the GOP and they got him to turn his back on his former colleagues in the public schools by voting for Senate Bill 5 that strips collective bargaining from public employees.
Hite was appointed to the 1st Senate District seat on February 1st.
On March 2nd he was suddenly appointed to the Insurance, Commerce and Labor committee that then voted to pass Senate Bill 5, which severely restricts collective bargaining for public employees, to the full Senate for a vote. Ironically the bill would affect public school teachers, Hite’s former profession. He also voted for final passage of the bill.
Before becoming elected as the representative for the 76th Ohio House District, Cliff was a teacher and coach for nearly 30 years. Originally beginning his career in Danville, Kentucky, after earning a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from The University of Kentucky, Cliff made his way back to his hometown of Findlay, Ohio where he retired from teaching and coaching at Findlay High School. During his coaching tenure, Cliff won eight league championships, coached three National Football League players, coached 22 First Team All-State football players and was selected Coach of the Year six times. Cliff remains the winningest head football coach at both Bryan and Findlay high schools.
In fact in the 2010 election when he won reelection to the Ohio House he was endorsed by the Ohio Education Association.
I hope the pay back for the appointment was worth it. It was a steep price to take away the rights of union members and add jail time for striking. I’m sure he has all his Teacher pension paperwork in order so it didn’t matter to him turning his back on his former colleagues. is a list of those organizations who endorsed Hite for his most recent election in 2010. THIS INFORMATION WAS TAKEN RIGHT OFF CLIFF'S VERY OWN WEBSITE! It's interesting to note that, besides the OEA, the rest of the organizations below are moderate to extremely "right wing"......aren't they?

• Buckeye Firearms
• National Rifle Association
• Ohio Chamber of Commerce
Ohio Education Association
Ohio House Republican Organizational Committee
Ohio Republican Party
• Ohio Right to Life

Republican Senator who was "jerked" off the committee (30 minutes before the vote) and replaced by Cliff Hite opens up to the public about this fiasco

"..... if that’s what can happen to a sitting state senator, what’s going to happen to you if you’re a nervous firefighter, teacher, or policeman — what’s going to happen to you if this bill passes?"
Senator Bill Seitz (R)
On Wednesday, just moments before a key committee in the Ohio State Senate was to vote on a GOP bill that would effectively dismantle public employees’ right to collectively bargain, the Senate’s Republican leader replaced a GOP committee member who opposed the bill with someone who supported it to ensure the measure passed. It was a brazen and nearly unprecedented move, and even more so considering that State Sen. Bill Seitz (R) told ThinkProgress that he is good friends with, and has been roommates for ten years with State Senate President Tom Niehaus, who yanked Seitz off the committee. Indeed, they were sworn in to the state House on the same day and eventually followed each other to the Senate, sharing an apartment in the capital throughout.
In a telephone interview with ThinkProgress yesterday afternoon, Seitz recounted how he was informed of the move by his good friend Niehaus just a half hour before the vote. Seitz, a conservative Republican who proudly noted that he works for a “management-side” law firm founded by the namesake of the very pro-management Taft-Hartley Act, said he supports “85 percent” of Senate Bill 5, but ultimately opposed it because it “goes to far.”
Asked about his abrupt removal from the committee, Seitz said it was “not unheard of, but not commonplace.” He couldn’t recall a time when something similar had occurred in the Senate. Moreover, he noted that his abrupt removal sends a bad signal to Ohio workers concerned about their own future:
SEITZ: [I told Niehaus] I’m not sure it looks real good, particularly in the context of a management rights bill, to have you exercise management rights over your own roommate, friend, and fellow party member. Because if that’s what can happen to a sitting state senator, what’s going to happen to you if you’re a nervous firefighter, teacher, or policeman — what’s going to happen to you if this bill passes?
Asked whether Niehaus’s move may have violated Senate rules because the president failed to officially declare the committee change before it went into effect, Seitz said that while he has “not independently researched it,” he was “of the opinion” that an official declaration was required. Seitz said he raised the concern with Niehaus, who “said that he had been advised by his legal counsel…that he had the legal authority to do it whenever he wanted to.” “I didn’t feel like arguing about it,” Seitz added.
Seitz said he firmly supports the right of state employees to collectively bargain, but that there needs to be reforms — he just thinks S.B. 5 overreaches. “I don’t think you need to so totally eviscerate collective bargaining to achieve those results,” Seitz said. “And I say that informed by an employer’s perspective of labor law,” he added. Most objectionable for Seitz is the bill’s replacement of a binding arbitration process with one that greatly favors management over employees. “It’s tantamount to someone being both a judge and advocate in their own case. It’s tantamount to heads I win, tails you loose,” Seitz said.

A lesson for Ohio's public servants re: Hite and Jones and a previous attempt to fleece Ohio's retirement systems and to force them into divestiture

From John Curry, March 5, 2011
Active educators and Ohio public servants
Several years ago, Cliff Hite and his cronies (including Shannon Jones) in the Ohio House of Representatives attempted to pass a bill (House Bill 151) to force Ohio retirement systems to divest of all of their holdings of certain companies (Toyota and Coca Cola and others) who did business with Iran and Sudan.
The bill failed, in part because this bill only applied to Ohio's retirement system holdings and not banks, brokerage houses or individual stock holders. That's kind of selective and discriminatory, isn't it?
The letter below was written to Cliff Hite (at that time a State Representative) to complain about this selective and discriminatory action by an STRS benefits recipient and CORE (Concerned Ohio Retired Educators) member, Jim Kimmel (now deceased). Public servants, neither Cliff Hite nor Shannon Jones has worked for your best interests in the past and certainly isn't doing so now.
John Curry
a Proud CORE member
a retired Ohio public school educator
P.S. Following Jim Kimmel's letter below to Cliff Hite is the introduction to former House Bill 151 ( introduced back in 2007), a list of its sponsors and a link to the entire bill for those who wish to research it.
CORE's Jim Kimmel to House Rep. Cliff Hite (District 76) HB 151
Jim Kimmel to Representative Cliff Hite, August 27, 2007
Subject: HB 151
Mr. Hite:
Why in the world would you promote and sponsor HB151 concerning divestment of STRS and other public retirement finds? You as a retired STRS beneficiary should see the danger more than most. Or maybe you do not need the money or health care from STRS. Apparently not.Then send it to me because if this goes through the system will be weakened and we (who don't have other means) will suffer a great deal. STRS money is not the state's to play political football with- it is money owned by the retirees.
151 will not work - the terrorists will just laugh, especially because everyone else but the retirement systems will still be able to buy those stocks. UNFAIR ! As long as we buy oil from that area of the world terrorists will have plenty of money.
151 is unconstitutional because states cannot conduct their own foreign policy. That is for Washington to do- NOT COLUMBUS !
It will enrich the brokers and the bankers. UNFAIR AND YOU KNOW IT.
Please do not vote for this bill. It will affect people all over this state - many of them your fellow teachers, active and retired. As well as police, firefighters, state patrol and many more. Do you drive a Toyota ? better get rid of it fast! Oh, and don't buy a Coke for lunch today, either. That would be WRONG. Oh, I forgot- STRS can't buy Cokes but you can. This is the most ridiculous attempt to do the wrong thing and call it "right" and patriotic" that I have ever seen in my 66 years on this earth!!
And we all know how the investment industry will profit from 151. It will cost the retirement systems millions to transfer out the "bad" stocks and buy equivalent "good" stocks to replace them. And it is so blatant it insults my intelligence.
James O. Kimmel
STRS Retiree
Ohio Air National Guard 1963-69
Proud CORE Member
127th General Assembly
Regular Session
Sub. H. B. No. 151
Representatives Mandel, Jones
Cosponsors: Representatives Adams, Aslanides, Barrett, Brinkman, Bubp, Budish, Carmichael, Collier, Combs, DeGeeter, Dodd, Dolan, Flowers, Gibbs, Goyal, Hite, Latta, Mallory, McGregor, J., Patton, Peterson, Schindel, Setzer, Uecker, Wagner, Wagoner, Webster, Wolpert, Zehringer
To amend sections 135.143, 148.04, 3305.01, 3305.02, and 3334.02 and to enact sections 137.01 to 137.09 of the Revised Code to specify procedures for divesting investments a public investor holds in directly held publicly traded companies conducting specified types of business in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of the Sudan and to prohibit public investors from investing in such a company and to authorize the Ohio public deferred compensation board, the alternative retirement program, and the Ohio college savings program to offer a terror-free investment option.

Teachers...are you ready to kiss tenure goodbye?

As currently amended, Senate Bill 5, sponsored by Sen. Shannon Jones,, a suburban Cincinnati Republican, would ban strikes by public employees and, for police and fire contract negotiations, end binding arbitration. It would cap, at 85 percent, the maximum taxpayer share of public employee health-benefit costs; forbid public employers from picking up the tab for an employee's share of retirement contributions; and replace "continuing contracts" (essentially, automatically renewable contracts) for teachers with set-term contracts.
House inherits public union bill: editorial
Published: Saturday, March 5, 2011
Speaker William Batchelder, a William Batchelder, has vowed Ohio's House will hold thorough hearings before acting on the public employee collective-bargaining bill Senate Republicans passed Wednesday, 17-16.
As currently amended, Senate Bill 5, sponsored by Sen. Shannon Jones, a suburban Cincinnati Republican, would ban strikes by public employees and, for police and fire contract negotiations, end binding arbitration. It would cap, at 85 percent, the maximum taxpayer share of public employee health-benefit costs; forbid public employers from picking up the tab for an employee's share of retirement contributions; and replace "continuing contracts" (essentially, automatically renewable contracts) for teachers with set-term contracts.
The Jones bill would cover 360,000 state and local public employees -- 42,000 in state government, 19,500 in state-aided colleges, 102,000 in local government and 196,000 in public schools.
Senate passage was the first of what should be several reviews of the bill, which, after all, drew just 17 Senate "yes" votes, the constitutional minimum -- none cast by Democrats. Three Greater Cleveland Republicans voted "no" -- Sens. Thomas Patton of Strongsville, Tim Grendell of Chesterland and Gayle Manning of North Ridgeville.
Conceptually, Senate Bill 5 -- by strengthening the hands of local government labor negotiators -- strengthens taxpayers' hands.
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, a Democrat, said of Senate Bill 5, responding to a question at his State of the City speech, "I fully recognize the need for change." But the mayor also cautioned that "a weak collective-bargaining unit that doesn't protect workers' rights is just a facade."
That is, honest reform must truly be balanced between public employees and public employers -- and balance is the No. 1 specification that Batchelder, perhaps the most experienced legislator in Columbus, must now meet.

They did it but....they would prefer that you forget about who "they" are!

They did it but....they would prefer that you forget about who "they" are!
..don't believe it? Read on!

by ModernEsquire on March 4, 2011

Boy, can’t you just tell how popular a bill is when NOBODY wants to take credit for its passage? We’ve now seen multiple instances of Senator Gillmor making essentially the kind of statement as found in this comment about her post-SB 5 letter to constituents:

As you know, the bill was passed out of the Senate this week, with Senate President Tom Niehaus casting the deciding vote.

We’ve been told that she said something similar elsewhere. She objects to any idea that she was the decisive vote on SB5, but instead calling it Niehaus’ decision under the same plausible deniability of a fire squad—sure, I pulled the trigger, but I don’t think my rifle had the live round.

Okay, let’s give Gillmor the benefit of her argument. She wasn’t the deciding vote in whether to pass Senate Bill 5, but doesn’t that still make her the deciding vote to let Niehaus be the deciding vote? And is she surprised at how Niehaus voted after he removed two anti-SB 5 Senators from the committees that could have killed the bill if they stayed on?

Not even twenty-four hours after the vote, and we’ve got Senators on the defensive about their “Yes” votes.

Oh, and there’s one other major problem with Gillmor’s “I wasn’t the decider” defense. As anyone who watched the vote (and as reflected on pg. 6 of that day’s Senate Journal) knows, immediately after the vote, Senator Grendell demanded a verification of the vote under Senate Rule 65 which states:

Rule 65. (Verification of Vote.) After the roll has been called, any senator may demand a verification of the vote. The Clerk shall read, first the names of those senators voting in the affirmative, then of those voting in the negative, at which time any senator, on account of error or for any other reason, may change his or her vote. (emphasis added.)

Yep, Grendell gave anyone who voted for SB 5 an opportunity change their vote and defeat the bill after everyone was aware of the final roll call vote showed it passing by only one vote. Senators Gillmor, LaRose, Stewart, and others could have easily changed their votes, thus defeating the bill. The bill passed on their silence to take the second chance Grendell gave them.

So, yes, Senator Gillmor, you were the deciding vote to permit SB 5 to pass. If not when you decided, as you yourself argue, to let President Niehaus cast the deciding vote for passage, then at least when you failed to decide to change your vote to change the outcome.

Stop making excuses for what you did, and start owning (and fixing) what you’ve done.

Friday, March 04, 2011

SB 5 - Who to thank and who to spank!

March 4, 2011
Public Servants,
So, you want the “official” vote count on Senate Bill 5 and who to thank and who to spank for passing SB 5?
Here it is…those in the first list were the Senators who “supported” SB 5…spank them with all you have! I have color coded their party affiliation.
Republicans are coded red,
Democrats are coded blue.
I think I've found a pattern....
How 'bout you?
~ A concerned educator
"Shall the bill, Sub. S. B. No. 5, pass?"
The yeas and nays were taken and resulted - yeas 17, nays 16, as follows:
Those who voted in the affirmative were:
Total: 17 "yeas"
Those who voted in the negative were:
Total: 16 "nays"
So the bill passed.

A thousand words......


Readers of Clifford's hometown newspaper (Findlay Courier) blast homeboy Hite!

The Courier, March 4, 2011
Senator Hite, you have now shown your true colors. We thought them to be "red, white, and blue," or maybe locally "blue and yellow" for the Findlay Trojans. But no, your true color is a nasty hue of brown born of a toxic combination of treachery, insult, and greed.
Treachery in the fact that you were once a teacher in the public schools. You saw the fight for collective bargaining rights for teachers, police officers, firefighters, and a whole host of other public workers over the years that you were a teacher, and I'm quite certain that these rights were beneficial to you.
Insult, as you slap every police officer, firefighter, and teacher in the face with your vote to send Senate Bill 5 out of committee, after your party pulled shenanigans to have you replace another member of your party who would not support the bill.
And greed, with which your party has always had a close relationship (see Kasich, Wall Street crooks, etc.) and to whom you are now forever linked.
The name Cliff Hite in Findlay for years was linked with music, with love of students, with commitment to excellence in the city band program. It came from the respect this community had for your father, and for the love and respect that he had for them.
Now let it be known that the name Cliff Hite senior still stands for such. And the name Cliff Hite junior stands against teachers, coaches, firefighters, police officers, municipal workers, librarians, and many other taxpaying, hardworking, middle-class (remember them?) citizens who truly serve in the capacity that you only pretend to hold or even care about: public servant.
I am ashamed to have you as my state senator, and I think your father would be, too.
Timothy Davis
I cannot believe that the governor and Cliff Hite support Senate Bill 5. This has turned me away from supporting all Republicans. This is a slap in the face of the working class.
For the record, I am not a public worker, and I know this issue is wrong.
While we're at it, why is our country slowly being sold to other countries? Why is our own governor turning his back on us?
Did you hear what was reported on the TV news? John Kasich said they have to be careful not to give power back to the people! What?
Don Wilcox
How ironic that our newly appointed senator, Cliff Hite, a former teacher and coach, has voted against his former meal ticket and is against collective bargaining by public unions!
The Ohio Senate voted 17-16 in favor of a major overhaul of the 27-year-old collective bargaining law, which will be headed toward a vote in the Ohio House on March 15.
Six Republicans joined all Senate Democrats in opposition.
Public unions view this as an attack on the middle class. Since Sen. Hite is now a member of the "rich politician club," and assuming that he will continue to receive his teacher pension provided by a public union in addition to his Senate salary and benefits, does he not consider his "yes" vote as a direct slap in the face to the rest of Ohio teachers who still consider themselves "middle class"?
He should be ashamed.
Salena Maazaoui
According to a March 3 article in The Courier, when Senate Bill 5 was put to a vote before the full state Senate, the bill squeaked through, 17-16. Six Republicans sided with Democrats against the measure. Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, again voted in favor of the bill.
As an "overpaid" teacher and a public worker, I want to know how it is ethical to pull senators that oppose the Senate Bill 5 off the vote and replace them with senators who will vote the party line and not with a conscience?
Heather Hunt
The GOP gamed the committee vote on Senate Bill 5 by removing a senator who was going to vote no and putting Findlay's Cliff Hite in his place, and he voted for the bill.
I'm glad that Hite paid back the GOP for appointing him to his seat.
It was a steep price to take away the rights of union members and add jail time for striking. I'm sure he has all his teacher pension paperwork in order so it didn't matter to him, turning his back on his former colleagues.
Maybe now he will be able to do what is right for the voters in his district. Shame on Sen. Hite.
Douglas Berger

CORE to meet March 17

From CORE, March 4, 2011
CORE (Concerned Ohio Retired Educators) will hold its March meeting on Thursday, March 17th at the STRS building at 275 East Broad Street in Columbus. Parking is free in the STRS parking garage located behind the building. We encourage you to also attend the STRS Retirement Board meeting on the same day which usually begins around 9:00 in the meeting room on the 6th floor but this time varies from month to month. Lately the STRS meetings have been held most of the day on the following Friday as well as Thursday. For this reason, we suggest you check the STRS website ( to confirm the time.
Please remember that CORE meeting attendees usually leave the STRS meeting around 11:30 in order to go to the cafeteria on the 2nd floor to get our lunches. We then take our lunches to the small cafeteria room behind the Sublett Room on the 2nd floor where the CORE meeting begins promptly at 11:45.
An agenda for this March CORE meeting will be sent out to everyone before the March 17th meeting. If you have additional suggestions for the March CORE meeting agenda, please send them to John Curry at curryjo@watchtv,net.

Debbie Lack writes to Senator Hite's hometown newspaper

Debbie Rudy-Lack to the Findlay Courier, March 3, 2011
Subject: CEE Contact Form: Senator Hite and SB 5
Attention: Letters To The Editor
Comments: I originally sent this letter to Senator Hite after watching his comments live, on The Ohio Channel, on the floor of the Ohio Senate. After receiving a generic email response, I decided to send this letter to his hometown. I also read some of the comments left by his constituents and I gather they are just as outraged as I am.
Deborah Rudy-Lack

Somehow I think Hite's Administrative Aide just missed the message...don't you?

Senator Cliff Hite to "Duke" Snider, Thursday, March 3, 2011
Subject: RE:"I love myself"
Mr. Snider,
Thank you for participating in the democratic process and writing your Senator. We appreciate all concerns, including the ones that you have addressed. Senator Hite is certainly proud of his education and coaching career. Thank you again for taking the time to write our office.
Alexandria Mock
Administrative Aide to State Senator Cliff Hite
(614) 466-8150
Ken "Duke" Snider to Senator Hite, March 3, 2011
Subject:"I love myself"
Senator Hite, (I really don’t care to use the title Senator for you.)
Do you realize how ridiculous you presented yourself yesterday? Oh, I’m not bragging, while holding your “ring” up in the air. You presented yourself as an arrogant, bragging man reliving your football days, and you call yourself a Senator?
Let’s see now, aren’t you receiving a check from STRS and a check from the Great State of Ohio which I think is a great state only some individuals aren’t so great.
Maybe the next election people will change their minds and vote for someone who doesn’t go on and on about their “glory days”, and then you can flash your ring and tell stories of your “glory years” to those who will listen as you sit in a chair at the local bar, restaurant or wherever people will listen to you.
Maybe they would like to hear stories about Ben and your quarterback when you were coaching, and I think you were a “coach” weren’t you? Maybe you can call Ben R. and tell him your stories.
Of course the above is my opinion (which doesn’t mean anything to politicians) and if I made any errors I apologize and please correct me.
Duke Snider, retired educator, CORE Member, M.Ed.

Video: Ohio's US Senator Sherrod Brown on 'Hardball' talking about assault on the Middle Class

Governors are supposed to be concentrating on job growth, not the destruction of the middle class!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Letter to the Findlay Courier: Cliff Hite was a member of the FEA

Findlay Courier, March 3, 2011
I am ashamed and embarrassed by the support that I have given to Sen. Cliff Hite in the past. A large part of Mr. Hite's campaign exploited the fact that he was a former teacher.
He even has several quotes on his website about the importance of educators. One such quote is: "No calling in our society is more demanding than teaching; no calling in our society is more selfless than teaching; and no calling is more central to the vitality of a democracy than teaching." -- Roger Mudd.
Mr. Hite has demonstrated, with his vote favoring Senate Bill 5, that he no longer believes this. In three short months, he has come to the conclusion that teachers are overpaid, underworked, and by no means vital to democracy.
I have personally contacted Mr. Hite's office on numerous occasions, leaving messages asking him to call me and explain his viewpoint on this issue. He does not even have the courage to face the educators, voters, and supporters that he has betrayed.
Mr. Hite had no problem with the collective bargaining process when he was on the other side of the table. He was a member of the Findlay Education Association, which is not required when hired as a teacher in this district.
I wonder what career path Mr. Hite will travel when he is not re-elected, and he has burned enough bridges that there is a good possibility he won't be. I'm guessing after the passage of SB 5, Mr. Hite, like many other Ohioans, will not want to be a teacher!
Angela Dittman

ANOTHER protest in the week at the State of the State address in Columbus!

Game On Gov. Kasich!

Following the 17-16 vote to send S.B. 5 to the Ohio House, State Sen. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) addressed S.B. 5 opponents gathered for a vigil at the Statehouse.

A fired up Skindell calls for 70,000 to protest Gov.Kasich next Tuesday when he delivers his first State of the State Address.

Video (1 minute) of the plea for marchers next week:

To these Republicans, I take off my hat......

From John Curry, March 3, 2011
Republican Sens. Tim Grendell of Chesterland and Bill Seitz of Cincinnati spoke out against that provision. Grendell said the process would turn workers into beggars before city councils and other officials who oversee them. "No one can be a judge and advocate in their own cause," Seitz said. "That's called heads I win, tails you lose."
During the debate, the chamber defeated Democrats' request to have the entire bill read aloud. GOP Sen. Scott Oelslager of North Canton sided with Democrats on that issue, as he did on the bill.
To the sponsor of the bill, Shannon Jones (R-Teabaggerville), I will ingest a cough drop!
"Jones said the bill is not an attack on the middle class, prompting snickering and coughs from members of the public in the crowded room."

It's a tea party world all you teachers and janitors!

If you need to enlarge this, try holding down Ctrl and scrolling your mouse wheel.

And now, professors, it's your turn to take one for the team!

by jsullivan on March 3, 2011
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 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.
Earlier this week, Modern wrote a piece highly critical of a “charter university” proposal percolating up to the governor (interestingly enough, this proposal is following a similar proposal in Wisconsin with a week or two lag time – sound familiar?). I happen to disagree with much of what Modern wrote (state appropriations account for 12% of OSU’s budget, before an expected 20% reduction, meaning that OSU is already more like a non-profit receiving state assistance than a public entity), but I’m certainly wary of any proposal viewed favorably by both Scott Walker and Kasich.
For the record, I’m actually pretty confident that between deliberations in the House and conference committee, followed if necessary by a referendum, that Kasich will eventually be denied his anti-union law. But if I’m wrong, what I’d like to know is this: if the major research universities (U of C, OSU) were to become semi-independent, would SB5 no longer apply to their employees? In the short term, that sounds like a potentially positive thing, but would it actually represent a part of a long-term strategy to create synergy between the push for things like SB 1 (RobsOhio) and SB 5? For example, if Kasich proposed privatizing the state prison system, this would undoubtedly be opposed by labor… but would unions be so opposed if they knew that they would get their collective bargaining rights back under the privatization scheme?
I’m cynical enough to see this as a long-term strategy to get public unions to support privatization, and then break unions in the private sector, where history has shown it’s easier. Tell me I’m just channeling some inner Glenn Beck. Please.

Retirees and actives...take this poll and let 'em know how you feel!

Cliff Hite goes to Confession.....

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Retired educator to Sen. Cliff Hite....You 'sold out' your fellow teachers and ALL PUBLIC employees

From Debbie Rudy-Lack, March 3, 2011
Senator Hite,
Even though I am not a constituent in your district, I felt the need to respond to your vote on SB 5 yesterday. I watched your "performance" on a live video stream on the Ohio Channel. And as much as I understand your personal experience regarding your football days, that doesn't quite compare to what SB 5 will be doing to teachers. Given that I am a retired teacher of 32 years, I can only address the bill from my perspective.
Here is what you and your "yes" colleagues have done to teachers:
1) You have destroyed the careers of veteran teachers because SB 5 will allow them to be RIF'ed should the superintendent and Bd.of Ed. decide it is financially necessary.
2) Those same teachers will never be able to finish their careers because there won't be another district who will hire them, for they have too many years in the classroom and too much education. (The ODE now requires that teachers earn a master's degree.)
3) Due to the fact that they will be essentially "laid off"...they can now collect unemployment benefits (doesn't that cost the state monies??) and hopefully they will be able to "re-train" themselves for another career....albeit not the one they originally chose.
4) This will ultimately have an impact on pension contributions to STRS...if 10% of my salary goes to STRS, 10% of a 22 year teacher's salary is a lot more than a first, second, or third year teacher's contribution. Thus, STRS will suffer financially....which will contribute to the problems already occurring at STRS.
5) SB 3 and HB 69, if passed, as they are now "placeholder bills", would require teachers to teach to age 60 with 35 years in the classroom....that isn't going to happen if SB 5 passes the House. Teachers in the classroom right now will NEVER be able to complete the requirements necessary to retire with their FULL pension. (I'm guessing you weren't thinking about this as you were "flashing" your college football ring yesterday.)
Senator, imagine my surprise when I found out in a Google search that YOU are a retired teacher, collecting a pension from STRS!! I couldn't believe what I was reading. Senator, are YOU collecting a full pension from STRS? Senator, were YOU able to complete your teaching career, a career you CHOSE to enter?
Ahhh, I forgot, you can now also collect a pension as a public servant AND you have health care, which is far better than what many of your fellow Ohioans have.
Nice gig Senator, if you can get it....but not all of us are as lucky as you. We chose to teach, and now for many of my colleagues, they will not realize their dreams of retiring in the profession they have chosen.
You "sold out" your fellow teachers and ALL public employees in the State of Ohio.....and for that Senator you should hang your head in shame!
I'm including my FULL address and email address so that you can respond to my letter. I am anxiously awaiting your response, but I don't believe I'll get anything more than an automated email letter from your office.
Deborah Rudy-Lack
retired teacher

John, did you jump the fence?

From John Curry, March 2, 2011
Like many critical of the proposed changes, John Lazares, who served on the 11-member STRS board from 2004-08, says changes approved Thursday will cost districts more because older teachers with larger paychecks will be forced to stay in the classroom longer. He also said past decisions — such as the offering of health care in the mid-1970s — greatly contributed to the organization’s financial hardships.
Offering health care in 1974 was a mistake, Lazares said. “Now, in the last few years, because health care costs have gone up so greatly and so many baby boomers are retiring, they’ve seen they can’t furnish health care costs and (also) a retirement plan,” he said.
Pension changes will cost taxpayers
‘Districts will have to put up levies more often to pay for higher salaries,’ official says.
By Andy Sedlak, Staff Writer
February 2, 2011
FRANKLIN — A former board member of the State Teachers Retirement System says proposed changes to its pension plan will come out of the wallets of taxpayers and put a financial burden on school districts.
Like many critical of the proposed changes, John Lazares, who served on the 11-member STRS board from 2004-08, says changes approved Thursday will cost districts more because older teachers with larger paychecks will be forced to stay in the classroom longer. He also said past decisions — such as the offering of health care in the mid-1970s — greatly contributed to the organization’s financial hardships.
“School districts will have to put up levies more often to pay for higher salaries and fringes,” said Lazares, 61, superintendent of the Warren County Educational Service Center and former Kings Local Schools superintendent. “The only place (districts) can save money is getting senior people to retire when they hit 30 years.”
Under the current plan, teachers may retire and receive 65 percent of their highest three years as long as they’ve logged 30 years. Under the proposal, teachers must work at least 35 years and be at least age 60, collecting 77 percent of their highest five years.
Arnol Elam, superintendent of Franklin schools, echoed Lazares’ statements.
“This will surpass any unfunded mandate out there,” Elam said. “Let’s say 10 teachers a year fall into the new retirement (category), that’ll represent $1.1 million a year in additional operating revenue for the district.”
The eligibility change would be phased in from 2015 to 2023. The proposed plan must be approved into law by the General Assembly and Gov. John Kasich
STRS cited higher health care costs, significant financial losses two years ago and a history of generous benefits as reasons for the change.
Offering health care in 1974 was a mistake, Lazares said. “Now, in the last few years, because health care costs have gone up so greatly and so many baby boomers are retiring, they’ve seen they can’t furnish health care costs and (also) a retirement plan,” he said.
Laura Ecklar, director of communication services for the STRS, said while it is an optional benefit, all state pension systems have taken advantage of the health care option and it comes from a fund separate from pension money.
“This issue is not created by health care as much as it is by demographic issues and the fact we just went through a huge recession,” Ecklar said. “Rising health care might force a person to work longer, (but) I think we’re all aware health care costs are a significant issue for everyone, not just retiring teachers.
“At the end of the day, without this package of changes, there would be a time when we wouldn’t be able to pay pensions at all,” she said.
For more information regarding proposed changes to the STRS Ohio retirement system, visit

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

A summary of SB 5 as passed today (3/2/11)

Come November, we'll remember!

March 2, 2011
So, just who were the Senators on the Senate Bill 5 committee today who voted YES for the passage of Senate Bill 5?
Here they are...THE HALL OF SHAME! Do not forget them the next time you see them on your ballot! Please share this with all public
servants on your email list.

Click image twice to enlarge.


Thanks, Jim Provance, for saying what others have doubted............

"He replaced Sen. Bill Seitz (R., Cincinnati) on the Insurance committee with Sen. Cliff Hite (R., Findlay), who was a union member most of the time that he served as a public school teacher."
Ohio Senate narrowly approves bill limiting collective bargaining rights of state’s public employees
March 2, 2011
Akron kindergarten teacher Cathy Macklem, center foreground, was among those protesting Senate Bill 5 at the Ohio Statehouse on Tuesday.
Click image to enlarge
COLUMBUS — A divided Ohio Senate Wednesday voted 17-16 to approve a controversial bill limiting collective bargaining rights of Ohio’s public employees.
Six Republicans joined all 10 Democrats in opposing the measure, which would preserve union negotiations for public employee contracts but limit what they could talk about, prohibit all public employees from striking, and establish a new process to bring final resolution to contract disputes.
Wednesday’s vote took place in a relatively quiet Statehouse, which stood in sharp contrast to the roughly 8,500 protestors who crowded the building and its grounds the day before.
Senate Bill 5 includes pay ranges for public employees, but does not preserve automatic longevity or step increases. It introduces a merit system through which employee pay could be increased based on their performance.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Shannon Jones (R., Springboro), said that system could be designed through contract negotiations and that longevity could still be a factor.
“The prohibition is on longevity being the only consideration and preeminent consideration (for raises)…,’’ she said. “There is no justification to say public employees can only be judged on seniority. I believe public employees could be should be judged on their performance.’’
To ensure that the bill would have enough votes to clear the Senate Insurance, Commerce, and Labor Committee and then the Senate Rules Committee to swiftly move to the floor, Senate President Tom Niehaus (R., New Richmond) replaced known GOP “no’’ votes on the committees with senators he knew would vote “yes.’’
He replaced Sen. Bill Seitz (R., Cincinnati) on the Insurance committee with Sen. Cliff Hite (R., Findlay), who was a union member most of the time that he served as a public school teacher.
Mr. Seitz had joined Democrats in arguing that provisions of the bill left some public employees, who would not have the right to strike, with little leverage in negotiations with government management. The committee went on to approve the bill 7-5 with one Republican, Sen. Jim Hughes (R., Columbus), joining the four Democrats in opposition.
“It’s pretty clear it was done due to the vote count,’’ the committee’s chairman, Sen. Kevin Bacon (R., Columbus), said.
Mr. Niehaus took Sen. Scott Oelslager (R., North Canton) off Rules and replaced him with Sen. Mark Wagoner (R., Ottawa Hills), who then voted to put the bill on Wednesday’s floor calendar.
“This bill’s going to put a muzzle on public employees,’’ said Sen. Edna Brown (D., Toledo), who opposed the bill in committee and on the floor.
“They’re not going to be able to negotiate safety issues for police and fire equipment…,’’ she said. “It’s going to be revert back, in my opinion, to the days when management had employees were totally at the mercy of supervisors…We’re going to see more nepotism, a lot of discrimination in this merit-pay business. Things are not going to be the same.’’
Despite the prohibition on public employee strikes, she said she believes strikes could still happen.
.“It is not unrealistic to think that, if employees become fed up enough, they will walk out,’’ she said.
Ms. Jones defended the decision to create an alternative to binding arbitration as a means of bring final resolution to a dispute. The new process would end with the governing body of the public employer deciding whether to pick its own final best offer or the union’s last offer as the final contract.
“They’re the body that should be accountable for the spending of those tax dollars,’’ she said. “This is keeping with the spirit and letter of the legislation that is asking for a lot of public transparency, putting these hearings in the public domain, and letting the public weigh in in the process…It is their responsibility and only their responsibility.’’
Under the new process, when contracts reach an impasse, either side could ask the State Employment Relations Board to appoint a mediator and, after that, seek the appointment of a fact-finder. The fact-finder would have to consider the taxpayers’ ability to pay when making his recommendations.
If the impasse continues 14 days after a fact-finder’s report is issued, the two sides’ final best offers would be submitted to the governing body of the public employer, which would hold a public hearing and then vote to pick one or the other offer as the final contract.
“You believe that it would be better to have someone who has the stake in the final outcome than somebody who is a neutral unbiased third party,’’ Sen. Joseph Schiavoni (D., Youngstown) told Ms. Jones.
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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