The Ohio Farmers Union came out in support of efforts to repeal S.B. 5 — the unfair attack on Ohio public worker rights.
“I would urge every Ohio voter to vote ‘no’ on State Issue 2 in the fall. Senate Bill 5 was an over-reach on the part of the governor and the Ohio General Assembly. Police, fire fighters, teachers, and other public workers are not the source of Ohio’s economic problems,” said Roger Wise, OFU president. “It’s really incredible that supporters of S.B. 5 would use economic arguments to attack the rights of workers to collectively bargain when we live in the context of an American economy that has been brutal on workers and the middle class for the past several years. Our state and our nation suffer from a complex set of challenges, including destructive trade policy, inadequate regulation of Wall Street, and the general failure of multinational corporations to reinvest in America.”
Wise also pointed out that during the last state worker labor negotiations in 2009, unionized employees of the state of Ohio gave up $238 million in wages and benefits for the first two years of the current, three-year contract. These givebacks came in the midst of a sour economy and while the administration of former Gov. Ted Strickland was shedding some 5,000 state workers over the course of his four-year term. State workers agreed to furloughs, wage freezes and to pick up a greater percentage of the cost of their health care benefits.
“All one needs to do is pick up a local newspaper and see that the economy has lead to cuts in the numbers of first responders and teachers throughout Ohio. It’s too easy to blame economics on organized workers. School boards, cities and village councils OK public worker contracts through the collective bargaining process which lends stability and predictability to public service funding,” Wise said.