College of Law

Law Review Symposia

Public Sector Labor Law at the Crossroads

October 21, 2011
University of Toledo College of Law
Sponsored by the University of Toledo Law Review

Symposium Brochure

Public sector labor and employment policy is one of the most highly publicized and hotly disputed topics of the past few years. The controversy surrounding recent state-level legislation has elicited debate on whether reform is necessary while major changes in public sector labor law are being considered in a growing number of states. The 2011 Toledo Law Review Symposium will examine the real and perceived problems that face public sector labor law and collective bargaining.  

The program will consist of four panels. The first panel concentrates on the constitutional issues surrounding public sector labor law, collective bargaining and those associated rights. The panel will speak on the recent United States Supreme Court decision in Duryea v. Guarnieri and the potential consequences of that decision. Panelists will also address the tension between First Amendment rights and public sector labor law. This panel consists of both legal academicians and practitioners who specialize in public sector labor law with a constitutional focus.

The second panel arguably focuses on the heart of these debates: the compensation, pension, and benefits of public sector employees. The panel will compare public and private employee compensation and further examine the budgetary impact of many of the proposed changes. This panel will consist of economists who have studied the relationship between collective bargaining and state budgets and also local practitioners who have spent a great deal of their careers negotiating the specific details of terms like pension, compensation, and health care in union contracts.

The third panel assembles legal academicians and practitioners to speak on recent reforms and trends in public sector labor law. Over the past decade many states, including Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, have made major legislative changes in public sector labor law. These reforms serve as models for other states that may adopt similar changes in the future. The panelists in this segment will address the pros and cons of those reforms as well as the trends in public sector labor law, specifically privatization and the increasing limits being placed on collective bargaining organizations.

The final panel focuses exclusively on Ohio Senate Bill 5. Ohio is one of few states that has drastically reformed public sector labor laws and collective bargaining. SB5 will have a significant impact on the lives and careers of every public sector employee in the State of Ohio. According to the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, Senate Bill 5 will affect 42,000 state workers, 19,500 higher-education employees and about 298,000 employees of local governments such as counties, municipalities, townships and school districts—that totals 359,500 employees. On June 29, 2011, referendum petitions to repeal SB5 produced over one million signatures and were submitted to the Ohio secretary of state for verification. These efforts to repeal Ohio’s anti-collective bargaining law have successfully resulted in the placement of a voter referendum on the November 2011 ballot, just weeks after this symposium

In sum, the 2011 Toledo Law Review Symposium seeks to address–and answer–some fundamental questions: How will public sector labor reform affect the careers, health care benefits, pension plans, and salaries for public sector employees? How will these changes impact state budgets? What are the motivations for these changes, and what are state legislatures’ options when crafting a solution to those problems? This relevant and timely symposium will inform attendees about issues surrounding Senate Bill 5 and similar legislation in others states. Panelists’ papers will appear in Volume 43, Issue 3 of the University of Toledo Law Review.


Schedule of Events

8:15 – 8:45 a.m. Registration
8:45 – 8:50 a.m. Opening Remarks: Daniel J. Steinbock, Dean, University of Toledo College of Law
8:50 – 9:00 a.m. Introduction: Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, President, University of Toledo
9:00 – 10:15 a.m.

Constitutional Issues Involving Collective Bargaining Rights
Moderator:  Lee A. Pizzimenti, Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Professor of Law, University of Toledo College of Law
Ruben Garcia, Professor of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Law
William Herbert, Deputy Chair and Counsel to the New York Public Employment Relations Board
Charlotte Garden, Assistant Professor of Law, Seattle University of School of Law

10:15 – 11:45 a.m.

Public Employee Compensation
Moderator:  Wyatt Holliday, Editor-in-Chief, University of Toledo Law Review
Michelle Sullivan, Partner, Allotta Farley & Widman Co., LPA
Jeffrey Keefe, Associate Professor, Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations
Matthew Dimmick, Adjunct Professor of Law and Law Research Fellow, Georgetown University Law Center
Jason Richwine, Senior Policy Analyst in Empirical Studies, Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis

11:45 – 12:45p.m. LUNCH
12:45 – 2:15 p.m.

Recent Reforms and the Future of Public Sector Labor Law
Moderator:  Nicole Porter, Associate Dean and Professor of Law, University of Toledo College of Law
Ann Hodges, Professor of Law, University of Richmond School of Law
Ellen Dannin, Fannie Weiss Distinguished Faculty Scholar and Professor of Law, Penn State Dickinson School of Law
John Roca, Associate Attorney, Labor Section, Gallon Takacs Boissoneault & Schaffer Co., LPA

2:15 – 2:30 p.m. BREAK
2:30 – 4:00 p.m. 

An In-Depth Look at Senate Bill 5
Moderator:  Daniel Steinbock, Dean and Professor of Law, University of Toledo College of Law
Joseph Slater, Eugene N. Balk Professor of Law and Values, University of Toledo College of Law
Gary McBride, Partner, Spengler Nathanson, P.L.L.
Edna Brown, Senator and Minority Whip, Ohio State Legislature
Keith Faber, Senator and President Pro Tempore, Ohio State Legislature - withdrawn due to last-minute conflict

4:00-4:05 p.m.

Closing Remarks: Daniel J. Steinbock, Dean, University of Toledo College of Law


The program will be held at The University of Toledo College of Law Auditorium. Directions and lodging information.

Fees and Registration

$75 for 5.75 Hours of approved CLE credit
Students may attend the symposium free of charge
Lunch available (limited seating; advance registration required)


Last Updated: 4/3/20