Opinion: Do not forget Senate Bill 5 in 2014

Ryan McCarthy

Ed FitzGerald has run a troubled gubernatorial campaign from the beginning, aided not in the slightest by his first bout of major name recognition stemming from media reports of his nearly a decade-long lack of a driver’s license.

His opponents naturally have run with that and it will probably result in his loss in November. Despite what you would call this – irresponsible or careless – the case that should be made is when it comes to policy. Incumbent John Kasich has shown complete and utter apathy toward the well being of public employees who make up the backbone of our society.

Kasich has touted the fact that he has balanced the budget every year of his term, which I suppose would be impressive, if he wasn’t legally bound to do so by the Ohio Constitution in the first place. Furthermore, how proud can he be about balancing the budget when he’s tried to do so on the backs of the people we need most? In 2011, Kasich signed Senate Bill 5, which would have stripped away Collective Bargaining rights of police officers, firefighters and teachers. This means that employers of these public workers would be permitted to refuse to negotiate on matters of wages, hours and working conditions, as well as a host of other implications.

Thankfully, after a widespread activist movement, more than one million signatures were put on a petition that only required 400,000 to put the bill to referendum. It was struck down 62-38 percent in an embarrassing defeat for Kasich. Unfortunately, this issue will be far from dead if Kasich is granted four more years. He won’t make the mistake of going after police officers and firefighters again, but he will go after teachers, and alone they’ll be harder to defend.

Here’s merely a sample of what will happen if John Kasich gets what he wants in regard to our educators: Extreme to complete limitations on collective bargaining. Meaning, teacher unions will not be able to negotiate terms of class sizes and wages. 

With rising class sizes, each student will receive less attention from the teacher, leading to less comprehension and faltering performance. Conveniently for our governor, payment will be based on performance on standardized tests. So, instead of teaching, our educators will have to resort to what they call “teaching to the test,” thus contributing to the downfall of public schools and John Kasich’s crusade for privatization.

John Kasich will sacrifice the education of our youth to satisfy his corporate background, and it’s just too important to stop that to worry about the lapses of an individual in his personal life that will not affect his policies as governor.