BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

Senate Bill 5

Dear Editor,

Now that the Senate Committee has passed Senate Bill 5 to abolish collective bargaining in Ohio, what now? Where do we stand as a union? Why do we need a body to represent us in negotiations and bargaining? And furthermore, Why do we need to have an outside entity such as PERU, (Public employees Representative Union), representing our interests? Will PERU employees at OCSEA take the same cuts as we will? They should do no better than what the membership of OCSEA, (Ohio Civil Service Employees Association), in any bargaining issues, wages, benefits and terms of employment. In fact, OCSEA seems to be unnecessary now, due to the loss of our collective bargaining rights. Even if we maintain some of our protection under collective bargaining, PERU needs to be abolished from representation of OCSEA members. We as OCSEA, should represent ourselves, and promote employment within the union, encourage education and support of our union and ultimately take control of our destiny as a union.

We in OCSEA have endured concessions, cutbacks and degradation at the hands of our own Union representatives as well as from the state employer. We have agreed to have more of the burden of funding our benefit packages such as our health care insurance, prescription drug plans, co-pays, out of pocket expenses, not to mention that we have not had wage increases in the past 5 years. We have suffered through position cuts, understaffing, unsafe conditions and being undersupplied in an effort to assist the State of Ohio in curtailing some of the fiscal disaster that has been so prevalent in the past several state administrations. OCSEA members have also contributed and donated the average sum of $1700.00 dollars per member back to the state through cost savings days that we were not in favor of.

OCSEA members have suffered under poor management by both, our union and by the State of Ohio. Our contracts are not held as a binding, fair and equitable document. Managers and supervisors created practices of violating the contract without mutual respect nor were we considered in workplace discussions. We participated in workplace committees and solving serious workplace problems only to have our hard work thrown out by the current legislation of Senate Bill 5. Our voice in the workplace was quiet, without any strength due to our inability to strike. Now we have no voice at all; we have been muted by revenge and retribution in the Statehouse in Columbus. We will have no right to pick our shifts, days off and jobs, this being our most cherished right, Pick-A-Post will also be sacrificed when collective bargaining dies. We will be at our supervisors will, and abuse that we have suffered before, will be multiplied and left unchecked because we will have no part in discussion and negotiation of work rules, policies or procedures. Our participation in Labor Management Committees will cease to exist, fair-play and consistent treatment in our workplaces will no longer be a matter of daily routine.

As a citizen of Ohio, I understand the need to curb excessive spending in each state department. I have seen glut spending, only to justify the next year’s operation budget. I’ve seen the waste and abuse of the unending flow of tax dollars, and the wide addicted stares of managers who feed at the public trough with glutinous verve, as they place work orders, purchase orders and never-ending requisitions for services, supplies and other necessities of state employment. I have witnessed the layer upon layer of management purely designed to pad employment numbers and show the efficiency and need for micromanagement and liability exchange. Indecision and incompetence run rampant in State Government, mostly in multi-layered middle management and newly required, acquired and created state-run agencies and departments.

Ohio’s fiscal disaster didn’t just happen due to collective bargaining; it has accumulated over several years, through several Republican and Democratic Administrations. Destroying the unions’ ability to bargain collectively and to have a shared voice in the daily operations of Ohio’s various agencies and departments will fix very little, in fact, I doubt that it helps at all. The tax dollars that will be saved due to Senate Bill 5 will resemble “found money” and our elected officials in Columbus will suddenly find other areas of need to squander it away. Until we put restrictions on spending and insist on public officials being taxpayer responsible, we won’t find an amicable solution to Ohio’s ability to provide employment security to all workers, public and private.

Terry Dayton

OCSEA

Belmont Correctional

Institution

Bethesda

Senate Bill 5

Dear Editor

Senate Bill 5 is bad for Republicans too. Governor Kasich, who was elected primarily on the belief in the electorate that he was best suited to lead the push for job creation in Ohio, made lower taxes, less government intervention, and jobs the cornerstones of his election campaign. Yet, his first significant action as governor was to introduce legislation that will exact revenge on the public unions which largely opposed his election. There were enough political ads on tv to realize that few of the Republicans seeking office made punishing state workers, teachers, and safety workers part of their campaign. Even members of the Republican Party who opposed the bill were replaced on committees and pushed aside. Clearly the majority party has taken a minority position since in the latest opinion polls, 70% of Ohio voters opposed this legislation.

In an era when voters across this country were looking for leaders to unite the parties and work for the greater good, the governor can be called the Great Divider. While the electorate waits in the political middle for real solutions, the governor and his supporters are introducing the far right conservative agenda. This is bad for Republicans who will be strong-armed into following. With the majority of the country somewhere in the middle of the political spectrum, voters will throw out those who have strayed this far to the right. Just ask President Obama how his strong progressive views worked for him in the latest national election.

We have to wonder what is next? Is it attacking the rights of private workers, lowering the state minimum wage, or right-to-work legislation to follow? How will state and local governments continue to attract qualified individuals when salaries and benefits already are lower than the private sector. How will especially rural school districts compete for quality teachers. No doubt decreasing qualifications of individual applicants will be the only solution to fill vacancies created by this legislation as individuals leave the public sector. And with that, Ohio citizens will suffer.

The good news is that all of this has awakened labor in this country. Millions of dollars will be spent by organized labor and others in upcoming elections to defeat any one who supported the governor and SB 5. Republicans need to reconsider this legislation and get to the business at hand-putting Ohio back to work.

Mark Miracle

Clarington

Senate Bill 5

Dear Editor

Senate Bill 5 is most likely the worst idea anyone has had since the air traffic controllers were fired. We let the Republicans get away with that and now they are out to destroy another union. I think the people better wise up and do something before they pass this or it will be all over

I am retired so this might not hurt me now but I do feel that the unions better let the governor see how much money the will lose if everybody stayed home for a day or two. They wont listen to anything else.

It seems there is enough money to pay the people he hires more than Gov. Strickland paid.

Maybe he just thinks our public employees are worth as much as the Republicans. Let’s not forget how much the people went through in 30s to get things started. Let’s not go backwards

Roger Johnson

Lewisville

Senate Bill 5

Dear Editor,

The Belmont County Township Association met on Thursday, Feb. 24, for a regular meeting. After much discussion about Senate Bill 5, the association took an official action by voting unanimously to oppose Senate Bill 5.

It is the belief of the association that Senate Bill 5 will be damaging to the state of Ohio, and more directly, to local communities. It will be harmful for all townships and weaken their ability to provide essential and much needed services. Furthermore, legislation like Senate Bill 5 undercuts the ability of workers to organize for their financial and professional stability and threatens the quality of life that is linked to reasonable compensation.

Ohio’s families need their elected politicians to engage in positive work for keeping good jobs in Ohio, not supporting legislation that lowers wages for hardworking Ohioans.

The Belmont County Township Association believes that the middle class is a crucial pillar in the framework of local communities and that this destructive legislation would further deteriorate the economic stability of the state of Ohio. We are asking our constituents, and all elected officials, to help defeat Senate Bill 5.

Greg Bizzarri,

President

Belmont County

Township Association

Senate Bill 5

Dear Editor,

I am writing in regard to Senate Bill 5.

This legislation is nothing but a vicious attack on ALL working people in Ohio and not just organized labor. Some political leaders are pitting worker against worker and protecting the interests of billionaires and big business.

Organized labor and collective bargaining improve the standard of living for all working people.

In turn everyone can better support local businesses, schools, police and firefighters and the community as a whole.

The states that do not have collective bargaining have budgets that are in crisis. Do you believe collective bargaining caused this? The students from these states score the lowest ACT & SAT scores in the country. Does collective bargaining cause this?

The top two percent of people in the United States have over 90% of the wealth. They are experiencing extended tax breaks; does this have anything to do with the budget crisis?

This is your democracy! Don’t let the corporations own Congress!

Please register to vote, contact your representatives of both the Ohio House and Senate and tell them to support workers rights. Attend rallies, write letters, talk to your friends and relatives. The time is now!

Doug Greiner

Zanesville

President, Teamsters

Local Union 637