Posts Tagged 'SB 5'

House Dems Show Support for Workers’ Rights

Ohio House Democrats stood in solidarity with their Michigan colleagues and friends by wearing red carnations to House session today. Ohio workers faced similar unsafe and unfair attacks on their right to collectively bargain, in Senate Bill 5, which was put to a voter referendum and passed with nearly 62 percent of the vote. State Reps. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Matt Szollosi (D- Toledo) released the following statement in support of Michigan workers’ right to collectively bargain.

“Today and everyday we support our brothers and sisters in Michigan and across the nation whose rights are under attack. The ability to collectively bargain for safe working conditions and a decent wage is what has allowed America to build a strong middle class. Right to work is wrong, and we will continue to fight against these anti-working family policies,” said Rep. Fedor.

“We proudly stand with workers, union and non-union, who are under attack today in Michigan. In their zeal to exact political vengeance against labor unions, Michigan’s Republican legislators have lost sight of right and wrong. The right to work legislation will drive down wages for working families, and open the floodgates for out of state workers. It is a shame,” Rep. Szollosi added.

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Rep. Szollosi Receives Legislator of the Year Award from FOP of Ohio

The Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio presented State Representative Matthew A. Szollosi with the Ohio House of Representatives Legislator of the Year award today.  The award was presented to Rep. Szollosi at the 78th Annual Conference in Cleveland, Ohio.

“I am proud to stand with our safety forces because they put themselves in harm’s way everyday to keep us safe. Decisions to close stations and reduce staffing levels concern me, especially when statistics show crime is on the rise. We should be giving our safety forces the tools they need to do their jobs safely, so they can go home to their families after each and every shift.”

Rep. Szollosi was recognized for his leadership statewide last year in the fight against Senate Bill 5 which would have gutted Ohio’s collective bargaining law. Rep. Szollosi fought to ensure that Ohio’s safety forces maintained their ability to negotiate fairly for proper staffing levels, necessary safety equipment and job security. “Senate Bill 5, had it remained law, would have been terrible for workers,” said Szollosi. “The Fraternal Order of Police did a great job educating the public about the true intent of the bill.”

Senate Bill 5 was overturned by citizen referendum last November by 61 percent.

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“This Labor Day, resolve to stand in solidarity with Ohio’s working families”

Great column from the Toledo Blade on Issue 2 as Labor Day weekend approaches.  Commentary writer Marilou Johanek talks about SB5’s assault on Ohio’s working families. Excerpts of the article are below.  

“Labor Day, 2011, will be touchy in Ohio. It marks the official beginning of an epic state battle that pits working people, unions, and Democrats against business interests, Republicans, and Gov. John Kasich.

“It’s a fight Ohioans didn’t ask for and certainly don’t need. They need jobs, not an all-out war against public employees launched along party lines.

“But GOP legislators in Columbus, taking a cue from their partisan brethren in other polarized statehouses across the country, are on a roll. They aim to swing as far to the right as House and Senate votes will allow.

“Their contentious ‘to-do’ list includes wiping out collective bargaining among state employees, which has little to do with pressing public concerns about topics from the economy to education.

“But the strategy of conservative ideologues is to strike while the iron is hot, to gain the political upper hand on party priorities while the GOP maintains majority status. The state’s Republican lawmakers exploited a budget crisis this year to pass a highly partisan measure that is hugely unpopular among most Ohioans.

“But GOP legislators went on the attack with public employee unions because they could. Senate Bill 5, signed by Governor Kasich in March, significantly weakens the rights and threatens the wages and benefits of more than 350,000 teachers, police officers, state employees, and other public workers.

“Contrary to what SB 5 defenders claim, the measure is not reform. It is extreme political posturing masquerading as responsible policy making. It was the last straw for fed-up voters.

“The revolt was on. Finally. A citizen-initiated ballot referendum to repeal the law had no trouble getting signatures in each of Ohio’s 88 counties to qualify for a statewide vote…

“Of the roughly 1.3 million Ohioans who signed petitions to place a repeal of Ohio’s new collective bargaining law on the ballot, 915,000 signatures were certified. Now it’s up to voters to decide whether a partisan assault on working families will proceed.

“It was a punitive, unnecessary, unfair broadside against labor. From the very beginning, it was an affront to working people in the state. But employees, both union and nonunion, public and private sector, have an innate sense of foul play.

“By now, many also are aware of how Republican governors use Republican legislative majorities to extract political retribution with preordained agendas. It was widespread anger over government actions, which didn’t reflect public values, that fueled the drive to repeal SB 5.

“In a speech, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, called the Nov. 8 vote on the referendum, known as Issue 2, “the most important election in America in terms of sending a message to the radical leadership of the Republican Party.” But it will be an ugly multimillion-dollar means to an end.

“The campaigns to pan or preserve SB 5 will attract big money and big attention nationwide as a bellwether of Republican strength in the 2012 presidential race…

“But polls show Ohioans get it. Whatever one thinks about the need to reform the public sector, SB 5 is over-the-top severe. Lawmakers went too far in the guise of cutting costs.

“Watch as proponents make a sucker punch to the middle class sound positively praiseworthy. Do not be misled.

“On this Labor Day, resolve to stand in solidarity with Ohio’s working families and against those in power determined to diminish them — and us.”

Read the full article here.

MUST READ: Youngstown Vindicator “Ohio Republicans are to blame for partisan tone in Columbus”

The Youngstown Vindicator took Ohio Republicans to task for their rampant partisanship and hypocrisy since taking control of state government, suggesting that Gov. John Kasich and other GOP leaders should “begin listening to the Democratic opposition.” Excerpts from the Vindicator editorial follow:

“Ohio Gov. John Kasich, President of the Senate Tom Niehaus and speaker of the House Bill Batchelder, all Republicans, are either very good actors, or are politically naive. Given the results of last November’s statewide election in which Republicans swept all the offices, naivety is not an apt characterization of the three leaders. Therefore, we can only conclude that their expressions of surprise Friday at the absence of the heads of the state’s top public-employee unions to discuss the new collective bargaining law — commonly called Senate Bill 5 — was just an act.

“…It is ironic that the word negotiations is being kicked around now, when it certainly doesn’t apply to the process the Republicans adopted to ram through the bill that strips the more than 300,000 public employees of some of their collective bargaining rights that have been on the books for more than two decades.

“Indeed, a Democratic state legislator who has received high-praise from the governor for her willingness to work with the GOP majority on key measures had this say about the negotiating session: ‘Governor Kasich and Republicans in the General Assembly have finally admitted that Senate Bill 5 went too far. If they thought they could destroy collective bargaining in Ohio and get away with it, they have been proven wrong. More than one million Ohioans have already sent a strong message that Senate Bill 5 should be repealed.

“’The time to negotiate was during the legislative process, not 197 days after Senate Bill 5 was first introduced in the Ohio Senate. Unfortunately, it has taken too long for the Governor and GOP leaders to acknowledge they overreached.’

“State Minority Leader Capri Cafaro, D-Hubbard, and members of her caucus were ignored when the collective bargaining reform bill was being developed. When it became law with Gov. Kasich’s signature, the public-employees unions, along with the state Democratic Party, decided to put the measure up to a vote of the people of Ohio in the November general election. The petition drive for the referendum was a rousing success, and polls consistently show that SB 5 would be rejected if the election were held today.

“Kasich and the Republican controlled General Assembly now find themselves having to reach out to the opponents of the new law. They should not be surprised that their invitation to negotiate has been turned down.

“Ever since the GOP took control of state government in January, partisanship has been the order of the day in Columbus.”

Read the full editorial here.

Budish Encourages Leaders to Reconvene Legislature and Repeal SB 5

Ohio House Democratic Leader Armond Budish (D- Beachwood) called on legislative leaders to convene the General Assembly next week to repeal Senate Bill 5 and take the serious first step to finding a compromise solution.  Budish also instructed the Legislative Service Commission to begin drafting repeal legislation, which is expected to be ready for consideration early next week.

“If Gov. Kasich and Republican legislative leaders are serious about compromising on Senate Bill 5, they will take the first necessary step and reconvene the legislature to completely repeal this bill,” said Budish. “Upon the complete legislative repeal of SB 5, we can then begin to do what should have been done 8 months ago, and have an open and honest discussion with those affected by these proposed law changes.”

Senate Bill 5 was passed into law earlier this year with bipartisan opposition and heavy criticism in an extraordinarily controversial process.  In addition to shutting out stakeholders and interested parties, the process also exploited legislative rules to remove members from committees that would not support this legislation. Final changes to the bill were made behind closed doors which added several hundred pages to the bill. Democrats were then forced to vote on the measure with little opportunity for review.

“I’m pleased that Gov. Kasich and Republican legislative leaders recognize that this is a flawed bill, but asking for a compromise without taking the first concrete step to repeal this bill is disingenuous,” said Budish.  “Given the very limited time frame, I’m concerned that their request to meet is more of a publicity stunt than a sincere effort to reach common-ground.”

The deadline to remove the Senate Bill 5 referendum from the Nov. 8 ballot is August 30, less than two weeks away.  Leader Budish indicated his willingness to work together to get members back to Columbus and support repeal efforts. 

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Special Delivery: 65,415 Signatures in Opposition to SB 5

YouTube – March 29 Hagan on SB5 Process.dv.

Tension was high in the SB 5 committee hearing today.  Several of our members marched into the meeting holding boxes filled with tens of thousands of signatures from hardworking Ohioans opposed to the passage of SB 5, which would effectively eliminate collective bargaining rights for Ohio’s public workers.  If Republicans still haven’t picked-up on Ohioans’ oh-so “subtle” clues that they’re just not liking this bill, it’s likely that nothing, not even the special-delivery of over 65,000 signatures in opposition to its passage, will get this message accross. 

Representative Uecker, chairman of the committee, ordered the boxes  to be removed from the room moments after their arrival.  Dollies were rolled in one-by-one as Representative Robert F. Hagan (D-Youngtown) challenged the decision to remove the signatures.  He asked the Chairman if he would, at the very least, promise to look over the documents.

“I will make no such promises,” was Rep. Uecker’s Response.


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