Monday, March 7, 2011

LaRose doublethink: "Collective bargaining is essential"

STATE SEN. FRANK LAROSE, the first-term Akron area Republican, says he is being unfairly criticized for his game-changing vote to kill collective bargaining. Indeed, he was sort of for collective bargaining by public employe unions before he was against it. His explanation is hardly clear, which is a good reason for the whacking he's taking from people who will be hurt by the bill if it is also passed by the Ohio House.

LaRose issued a formal statement (which I read on a conservative blog) as a non-mea culpa. I will share with you, in part:
"This bill helps restore balance to the public employee collective bargaining process, while also protecting the rights of our state's hardworking public service employees."
Question, senator: How can you restore balance to a collective bargaining process that won't exist for public union workers once the measure becomes law? And do you really suppose that by adding "hardworking" to the public workers you will salve their feelings? I hope you can see where this is going.

And here's another thought from the young Tea Party-influenced senator :
"My vote was not, and never will be, motivated by political considerations or outside pressure. Anyone who says otherwise does not know me or understand my unwavering commitment to serving the citizens of our community. I am duty bound to do what's best for Ohio, even when it may be unpopular. We must work together to bring prosperity back to the Buckeye State."
Well, Gov Kasich, who is in love with the union-busting bill, wasn't taking any chances. He visited the Senate Republican caucus the night before the vote and you can be sure that it wasn't a casual social drop-in.

While we're at it, senator: You say the bill was improved because strikers wouldn't be put in jail. Fine, although there's doubtless not a soul among your critics who doesn't believe the last-minute amendments actually made it much worse.

Sorry, but I've saved the best for last:
"I opposed the initial version of the bill based on fundamental objections with a few of its provisions. By standing steadfast on what I believed to be fair, I was able to work with my colleagues to protect the essential right of employes to collectively bargain."
You may not have heard, senator, but there will be no essential right of public employes to collectively bargain. Orwell had something to say about such logic. He called it doublethink.


Anonymous said...

You must be confused Abe. It's the Wisconsin bill that bans collective bargaining. And so did the first draft of SB-5. Thanks to a few moderates, namely LaRose, bargaining for state employees was retained. He's a pro-union Republican and actually tried to work pragmatically within his party to bring some moderation to this bill...and is now being skewered by ideologues like you for it.

Anonymous said...

Also, it's only fair to give a link to his statement just in case anyone actually wants to read the full text.

here's the url:

Grumpy Abe said...

From the many accounts that I have read of the bill - which are available to you on the Net - the current bill does allow collective bargaining for pay only, but eliminates the power to strike and binding arbitration. Now, in practical , not political, terms, how can you effectively negotiate pay levels without the threat of a strike? It is a highly restrictive form of bargaining without teeth. At the same time, the measure eliminated pensions and health benefits as well as other workforce matters - critical talking points these days - from being eligible for collective bargaining by public unions. As for protecting talks on pay, you can find people in the legislature who call that a "fig leaf" to cover the true anti-union thrust of SB5. And by the way, ideologues like me were once forced to strike to finally get a $3 a week pay raise. You sort of remember those days when you were trying to look after a family. How about you?

mencken said...

I expected the "full text" to be a lot more full. It was surprisingly brief. But thanks for the link.

I guess we should all be grateful to LaRose for his opposition to sending strikers to prison. That and allowing workers to negotiate with only one arm tied behind their backs ( instead of both) makes what LaRose said sound less like negotiation and more like a defendant's plea bargain to allow the guilty workers to cop to a lesser charge.

I think what's been lost here is that state workers would likely make concessions based on fair negotiations. But fairness was the first casualty of this conflict. Couple that with Kasich's hypocritical pay raises for staff members and this mess should come as no surprise.

JLM said...

It's a shame poor Frank's feelings are hurt by those who he feels are "unfairly" criticizing his last second switcheroo vote, but the people to whom he was talking out one side of his mouth felt a little hurt and betrayed by the freshman senator's display of his actual motivations, namely, do what the party bosses tell you. If Mr. LaRose thinks this is bad, wait till election time. Perhaps he should "toughen up" like the proponents of SB5 state that public employees should do, instead of having it so easy all these years. Thanks Abe for pointing out to your first poster that a union without teeth is a union in name only. Apparently his vision of SB5 neglected to recognize that factor. He's telling public workers that they still have what SB5 takes away from them. As a just retired, over 30 year public employee, I know what workers had and what they gave back every three years at the contract negotiation table. Thanks to Wall Street Johnny and Co., they'll now have bupkis. But his cabinet and staff? Raises, because...they're worth it.

Grumpy Abe said...

The concessions in recent years have ranged from wage freezes and increases in health insurance deductions to a ban on a few hours off to attend a funeral service for a close friend. It would take a lot of such funerals to put a dent in the budget deficit.