Early voting on Senate Bill 5, Ohio’s collective bargaining law, is already under way. Senate Bill 5 is called Issue 2 on the November ballot and is the target of a repeal campaign. Implementation of the law is on hold until after the election.
Election Day is Nov. 8.
The law affects all public workers in Ohio, including — or perhaps especially — teachers. Here are the highlights of how SB 5 affects education in Ohio.
- Requires public employees to pay at least 15 percent of the cost of their health care benefits.
- Prohibits collective bargaining over the details of health care benefits packages.
- Bars public employers from paying a portion of employees’ pension contributions, i.e., pension pick-ups.
- Requires the order of teacher lay-offs to be determined first by teacher tenure status and then by several other criteria, which can (at a school board’s discretion) include seniority. It also would phase out teacher tenure by eliminating it for anyone who does not already have it. For non-teaching school employees, tenure and then performance must be the determining factors in determining which employees are laid off.
- Abolishes teacher tenure for currently untenured teachers. (Teachers who already have tenure, also known as a continuing contract, retain tenure.) Instead, all teachers would receive contracts of up to five years.
- Eliminates the requirement that local and state governments (including schools) collectively bargain over wages, hours and working conditions.
- Prohibits collective bargaining to set maximum class sizes, limit supervisors’ ability to determine where an employee will work or an employees’ workload or restrict a school board’s ability to contract out non-educational services.
- Eliminates automatic pay raises that teachers receive as they accumulate years of experience and credentials and instead requires teachers to receive performance pay. Performance pay would be based on level of licensure and education, results of a formal evaluation and any other measures the school board picked. The evaluation process must meet general guidelines to be set by the state Board of Education, including a requirement that at least 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation be based on his or her students’ academic growth.
- Requires all teachers be evaluated at least once a year using that evaluation process, starting by the 2013-14 school year. School boards must use evaluation results to “inform” decisions about compensation, nonrenewal of employment contracts, termination and reductions in force.
- Abolishes the statutory sick leave, leave of absence, and assault leave provided to all school employees, the statutory personal leave and vacation leave provided to nonteaching employees, and the statutory professional improvement leave provided to teachers. Instead, school boards could set their own leave policies.
- Eliminates the requirement that non-union members pay their union a “fair share fee.”
- Prohibits public employees from striking. Under current law, some public employees (including teachers) are allowed to go on strike.
- Effectively defines most full-time public college and university faculty as supervisors or management-level-employees, which means their schools are no longer required to collectively bargain with them.
- Bars charter school employees from bargaining collectively. Employees of district-sponsored charter schools can continue to bargain collectively only if their schools’ boards agree to do so. Currently, employees in both types of charter schools are allowed to bargain collectively.
- School boards and other governing bodies are permitted to implement their last best offer without union approval or review by a fact-finder if they’re unable to negotiate a settlement with unions.