A onetime bipartisan bill designed to provide business an alternative to mass layoffs lost some Democratic support after House Republicans scrapped a provision which required employers to get the approval of unions before offering short-time unemployment compensation. House Bill 484 would allow employers to reduce employee’s hours and allow them to file for a partial unemployment claim to make up the rest of their salary.  The bill would allow employers to avoid layoffs in some instances and ensure that when they are able increase work hours again they will not have to expend significant resources training new employees.

The bill contained a provision that required unionized employers to seek the approval of their employees union before implementing the program. Under federal and state law employers are required to bargain over any change to wages, hours and working conditions. Implementing a new procedure for reducing employee hours arguably is a mandatory subject of bargaining between employers and unions under state and federal law.

However, Ohio House Republican stripped the provision of the bill which would have required employers to seek the approval of their employee’s union representatives. The revised bill now likely will be voted on by the full House on later today.