They'll keep fighting but will we? E-mail
Written by Cynthia Brown   

Just two years ago a phenomenal effort led by a coalition called “We are Ohio,” comprised of members of the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police (F.O.P.) along with the state’s teachers, firefighters and other pubic and private sector workers, resulted in the voters overwhelmingly rejecting SB5 - a bill to limit collective bargaining rights for government workers. But the forces of evil have regrouped.

Some politicians in the Ohio House of Representatives are right back it their efforts to screw workers.

Last month they filed a bill that would prohibit requiring employees to join a union or have their dues automatically deducted. Similar right-to-work laws are in place in 24 states, including neighboring Indiana and Michigan.

Jason Pappas, the president of the Columbus F.O.P. is taking the threat seriously but says the bill faces a lot of obstacles - a good thing for Ohio law enforcement officers and other public sector employees.

“What’s happening here in Ohio, is the Tea Party affiliated politicians are becoming more isolated,” Pappas explains. “They have pretty much said they are done with the more moderate mainstream Republican party and are breaking free to go it alone. Rep. Ron Maag, one of the sponsors of this bill, appears to be aligned with the Tea Party here in Ohio. The good news is that the polling shows they are losing support with the voters.”

Pappas says the bill is a sort of warning shot across the bow from the Tea Party at the Governor and the Republican party.

“The good news now is that it doesn’t appear to be working,” Pappas continues.

Nevertheless people across the state are gearing up to fight the measure. “Ohio We are Ohio,” which never disbanded is back to holding meetings, raising funds, cranking up their research arm, and increasing postings on Facebook and

Twitter along with text alerts. Pappas and other law enforcement associations across the state are calling meetings to educate their members about what it will mean for them if the measure passes.

“Right now it’s simmering on a back burner,” Pappas said, “but we are ready to go back into action if need be.”

Others are speaking out as well.

"I am just appalled by the efforts of Representatives Maag and Roegner to once again attempt to silence the voice of workers across the state of Ohio, this time in both the public and private sector," said Becky Williams, an official with the Service Employees International Union group.

"This will hurt people we trust like librarians, nurses, mental health providers, social workers, cops, firefighters and so many others."

People around the state lashed back at the proposal calling it a slap in the face to the Ohio voters who repealed a proposed collective bargaining overhaul in November 2011 that limited the bargaining rights of public-sector workers. Almost 62 percent of voters objected to the law.

"So-called right to work means fewer rights, not more, for working Ohioans. It would negatively impact the lives of all Ohioans, and it would particularly harm the ability of our police, firefighters and teachers to bargain for safety equipment, proper staffing levels, and class sizes, just to mention a few," House Democratic Leader Armond Budish said. "For example, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of workplace deaths is 51 percent higher in states with right to work laws."

When SB5 as it was called was proposed in 2011, thousands of people descended on the Ohio Statehouse to protest the bill's passage, prompting state officials at one point to lock the doors out of concern for lawmakers' safety. Chants opposing the bill interrupted Kasich's first State of the State speech and the annual addresses has not been held in Columbus since that time.

The earlier legislation affected more than 350,000 police, firefighters, teachers, nurses and other government workers. It set mandatory health care and pension minimums for unionized government employees, scrapped binding arbitration and prohibited basing promotions solely on seniority.

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Comments (1)Add Comment
Forces of Evil? Really?
written by Ryan Millbern, May 26, 2013
I find it very troubling that in the line of work we are in, you would choose to label people with a different political view than yours "evil". They are not advocating for putting puppies in a blender or allowing sex offenders to be preschool teachers. They feel differently than you about unions. Your name calling and clear belief that they are "evil" only strengthens their argument that unions are out of touch with reality.

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