Townhall discusses Senate Bill 5

Caitlin Restelli

Several representatives from different unions came to Kent State to voice their views on the Senate Bill 5 on Friday.

In a room filled with approximately 20 people, sentiment against the bill dominated the discussion.

“I’m not happy about my brothers and sisters in the union and labor are getting screwed,” said Barbra Lewis, regional coordinator of Organizing For America. “It’s capitalism at its finest.”

According to its website, OFA is the successor organization to Obama for America that helped to elect Obama.

“There’s no question I’m a democrat, and it’s really hard for me to be non-partisan,” Lewis said.

Last week Senate Bill 5 passed through the Ohio Senate and is on its way to be voted on in the Ohio House.

“Collective bargaining works whether finances are good or they’re bad,” said Tracy Laux, Kent State mathematical science lecturer. “We’re not being greedy; we’re reasonable people. What the state of Ohio is trying to do is take away the (collective bargaining), which is just ignorant, hateful and a political attack on all public employees of Ohio.”

After the speakers voiced their stance on the bill, the audience interacted by stating opinions and asking the speakers questions.

Cynthia Schuckert, a custodial worker of Kent State University Residence Services, said she is “totally against” the bill.

“How much more do they think we can lose? There are days you have to sit there and think, OK, I need gas in my car; I’m sick, I need medicine; or I need food on my table,” Schuckert said. “Which one of the three are you going to choose? I mean you literally have to choose one and don’t do the other two.”

Marcus Wagner, an Akron University student, commented about how Texas public unions already do not have collective bargaining rights.

“Other states aren’t as lucky as Ohio,” Wagner said. “They can’t really force a referendum like we can, and when it comes down to it, when they have strikes that are illegal, essentially, will Ohio unions stand with them and say, ‘enough is enough’?”

Contact Caitlin Restelli at [email protected].