In 2007, and again in 2008, Governor Strickland signed executive orders that significantly expanded the scope of unionization in Ohio. The executive orders provided a legal framework for certain unions to organize independent home health care providers and home child care workers. These are individuals who work for themselves, but obtain reimbursement from the State. Governors in other states, like Illinois and Michigan, took similar actions in the 2000s as well.
As a result of the executive orders, the SEIU organized about 7,000 home health care workers. The AFSCME union organized about 6,800 child care workers. The labor contracts that the Strickland Administration subsequently negotiated with these two unions required all of the workers to pay union dues to the respective unions. Those contracts expire in 2012.
This weekend, Governor-Elect Kasich indicated his intent to reverse the Strickland-era executive orders. Not surprisingly, the statement drew strong rebuke from the two unions who represent the employees.
For the labor professional in the public sector, Governor-Elect Kasich’s statements suggest that change may be in the wings for the structure of labor relations in the public sector in Ohio. Commentator Thomas Suddes writing in the Columbus Dispatch discusses what the future might hold for public sector unions in the coming four years.