As was noted in an editorial in this paper, Gov. John Kasich recently called for negotiations with We Are Ohio, the coalition that represents the unionized police, fire, teachers, nurses, prison guards, and social workers in the state of Ohio. The governor sought to reach a compromise on the union busting legislation known as Senate Bill 5. We Are Ohio thoughtfully and intelligently, denied this request.
Consequently, the governor and this newspaper portrayed this rejection as an unwillingness on the part of the unions to compromise on this bill. The fact of the matter is that the governor and his radical anti-union minions have become well aware of the public backlash against the sinister SB 5 legislation, leading them to the realization that something had to be done to curtail public sentiment and to regain power. This call for a meeting was nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to sway public opinion against the unions.
The governor was fully aware that the unions were not going to show and made sure that their rejection of his bogus offer was well publicized.
Ironically, it was his request for negotiations on this matter that union members find most intriguing. Why would the governor, who vehemently opposes collective bargaining, and who willfully and unscrupulously ensured passage of this legislation, want to engage in the very same behavior that he sought to destroy? Perhaps the governor sees that collective bargaining isn't so bad after all and that SB 5 is inherently flawed. Although the time has passed for SB 5 to be repealed by the state legislature, We Are Ohio would welcome the opportunity to engage in mutually beneficial discussions upon repeal by the voters in November.
It is also important to note that the editorial in this paper stressed the fact that collective bargaining was not going to be abolished, especially as it pertained to the negotiations of teacher's wages. A close examination of this bill reveals that school districts will not be required to offer a base salary. This provision, along with the provisions requiring merit pay, non-renewing contracts, and the criminalization of strikes, leaves little, if any room, for unions to negotiate a living wage for their members.
Therefore, it is incumbent on all hard-working Ohioans to ensure defeat of this bill. No level of wages and benefits is low enough for the hyper-conservatives who ram-rodded this legislation through the state government. Please encourage your family and friends to vote No on Issue 2 on November 8.
Dr. John L. Romanek