As if the City of Toledo needed more adversity in its relationships with the unions which represent its employees, some elements in the community have devised a new gimmick that will purportedly resolve all the labor-management “problems” which have plagued the City over the past months.
The newest gimmick is, according to Mayor Mike Bell, let the voters decide whether or not the City should pickup employee pension contributions to the various state pension funds:
Mayor Mike Bell wants Toledo voters in November to decide whether the city should in the future pay pension premiums for municipal union employees.The referendum, if it makes the November ballot and is approved, would end any possibility of that compensation for city employees in their future contracts. The “pension pickups” have been a source of increasing controversy since the city’s general fund budget started nose-diving in 2007.
And, of course, the Blade decides that its going to endorse the idea. The Blade notes: “the choice shouldn’t be all that tough. Let city taxpayers help decide how they want their tax dollars spent? Why not?”
Well, because it’s illegal that’s why.
See, there’s this pesky Ohio statute that says that collective bargaining agreements prevail over state law unless the law falls into within a very limited range of state laws. And gosh golly, the Ohio Supreme Court held back in 1991 that even when some law exists that’s outside the realm of collective bargaining, it’s only state law, and not a municipal ordinance, that can override a collective bargaining agreement. In fact, the Ohio State Employment Relations Board has agreed in that it’s only when a collective bargaining agreement is silent on a particular issue that a local law or ordinance can be deemed controlling.
What will they come up with next?