Letter to the editor: The final truth of Issue 2

Bryan J. Staul

Let’s all be clear on the matter of Issue 2(Senate Bill 5). It is wrong. It is bad policy, no matter which way you spin it. Here are some reasons why I urge you the students to come to the polls on November 8th and vote NO ON ISSUE 2. Firstly Senate Bill 5 is political plain and simple. If there is one thing Columbus Republicans have proven it is that they will go to any length to achieve malicious and Machiavellian motives. Issue 2 has nothing to do with fiscal responsibility. This is because union members approached the Governor and agreed to virtually every financial concession asked for. Kasich instead opted to run public employees over with a bus. The Governor and Senate President Tom Niehaus even pulled State Senator Bill Seitz a Republican from Cincinnati off a committee after Seitz voiced opposition. The whole incident reminds me of a quote from the great writer Robert Penn Warren, as one could say that this bill was “conceived in sin and born in corruption”. Secondly collective bargaining has been good for Ohio.

When bargaining was introduced in the early eighties Ohio’s public workforce was in dire straits. There was corruption, cronyism, and strikes were a regular occurrence. However, with collective bargaining Ohio was able to build a more professional, accountable, and well equipped workforce. The argument that unions and collective bargaining sank Ohio’s budget is a flat out falsehood. As I have said collective bargaining has been in Ohio for thirty years through good times and in bad. What put Ohio’s budget in this situation is the stagnant economy, high unemployment, and the recklessness of Wall Street firms such as Leehman Brothers which is a former employer of Governor Kasich. When one looks at the facts state workers have already been sacrificing to help Ohio, for example state employees saved Ohio taxpayers 350 million dollars through pay cuts and work furloughs. Beyond that public sector employees earn an average of six percent less than those in the private sector. It should also be noted that state employees already pay ten percent into their pensions and fifteen percent into their healthcare plans.

Thirdly, Senate Bill 5 is unsafe. I think I speak for everyone when I say I want my first responders to have the best tools possible. I want police officers to be able to bargain for bullet proof vests and I want firefighters to be able to bargain for oxygen equipment, the bottom line is that Senate Bill 5 makes it illegal for first responders to negotiate for enough staff. Fourthly, Senate Bill 5 hurts educators. Under this law teachers would not be able to negotiate on classroom size which we know affects the quality of education. So if you care about your community, if you care about those who protect you, if you care about those who teach you, and if you care about the standard of living in Ohio please vote NO on Issue 2.

Bryan J. Staul

President of the Kent State College Democrats

Vice-Chair of the College Democrats of America’s Labor Caucus