Ohio Senate Bill 5: Public Sector Collective Bargaining Reform—Legislative Update

March 7, 2011 By Donald L. Crain, Julie E. Byrne

On Wednesday, March 3, 2011, the Ohio Senate passed an amended version of Senate Bill 5, which proposes significant reforms to Ohio's public sector collective bargaining act and Ohio's school law. 

Notably, the Bill is NOT law yet, and the terms of the Bill will likely change. However, below is a list of some of the major changes proposed by the Bill as it was passed by the Ohio Senate:

The Bill also makes significant changes to Ohio School law, including allowing teachers to negotiate a three-year initial contract, and subsequent contracts for two to five years.

Notably, none of the Bill's provisions would affect existing collective bargaining agreements. The changes would become effective for contracts entered into on or after the Bill's effective date.

Many anticipate that the Ohio House Insurance and Labor Committee will begin hearings on the Bill this week. Likely, the Ohio House will adopt more amendments to the Bill. If it is amended, then any differences between the House and Senate Bills would have to be reconciled and approved. Then the Bill would be sent to the Governor for his approval, and filed with the Ohio Secretary of State.

Opponents of the Bill have pledged to put the Bill up for a state-wide referendum. The referendum could appear on the November 2011 ballot or the November 2012 ballot depending on a) when the Bill is received by the Ohio Secretary of State, and b) whether the Bill's opponents can gather the required number of signatures. Significantly, the effective date of the Bill may be delayed until after the referendum.

Frost Brown Todd will be conducting an informational seminar on Senate Bill 5 for interested clients on April 13, 2011 from 4-6 PM at Miami University's Voice of America Park location, and will also be conducting its annual Ohio Public Sector Labor Law seminar on June 8, 2011 in our Cincinnati office where we will discuss any applicable changes in the law in greater detail. Please contact Susan Wiegert at (513) 870-8219 or swiegert@fbtlaw.com to reserve your space for either event.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about how the changes to Ohio's collective bargaining law could affect your organization, or how you can provide input in the legislative process, please contact Don Crain, Joe Scholler, Tom Swope, Jim Lawrence, Jeff Shoskin, Alex Ewing, Julie Byrne, or any Ohio member of Frost Brown Todd's Governmental Services Practice Group.