Senate Bill 5 protesters descend upon state Capitol

On Tuesday, thousands of Ohioans ventured to the Ohio Statehouse to protest Senate Bill 5, a bill restricting collective bargaining rights for state employees.

Collective bargaining is a type of negotiation used between an employer and its employees.  In Ohio, unions use collective bargaining to determine wages, benefits, worker’s rights and much more.  Without it, labor unions are under the mercy of management’s decisions.


On Tuesday, thousands of Ohioans ventured to the Ohio Statehouse to protest Senate Bill 5, a bill restricting collective bargaining rights for state employees.

Collective bargaining is a type of negotiation used between an employer and its employees.  In Ohio, unions use collective bargaining to determine wages, benefits, worker’s rights and much more.  Without it, labor unions are under the mercy of management’s decisions. 

Starting at noon, protesters and union members began arriving by the busload to rally against SB-5’s language. T-shirts and signs were plentiful throughout the masses and chants from Bring Back Ted! to Let Us In! filled the air. 

The capitol building was at a capacity of 1,200 people when the Ohio Highway Patrol locked the doors, barring the remaining protestors from entering the Statehouse Atrium.  Democratic state senators met with their Republican colleagues and Attorney General Mike DeWine to resolve the matter.  Eventually, the remaining activists were allowed entry and accommodations were made to allow an audio broadcast of the hearing on SB-5. 

Andrea Pavlichich, president of The University of Akron College Democrats, spoke against the proposition, stating the passage of SB-5 can be devastating for higher education; […] without collective bargaining a quality working and learning environment is not a guarantee.  

The passage of SB-5 will eventually impact students, if not right away, certainly over time.  Jennifer Holz, former president of the Akron Chapter of the American Association of University Professors and Professor of Sociology, said, Benefits and salaries that were once negotiated will now simply be imposed; and health care costs will increase at a regressive rate, with highly paid administrators paying the same percentage as low paid instructors and secretaries.

She continued, …faculty are the hearts and souls of universities; we do not do it for the money because we have credentials that would certainly pay better in the private world of business.  If SB-5 passes, in its current state, there is a serious chance that the teaching elite of Ohio will move into the private sector.

State Senator Frank LaRose (R- Fairlawn) believes that the system does need reform; however, reforming collective bargaining doesn’t mean getting rid of it.

Moving forward, it is important to remember that SB-5 is still in a state Senate committee. If the bill makes it through the committee, it must face a vote in the Senate and House before making it to Governor John Kasich’s desk to be signed into law.

Chairman of the UA College Republicans, Ken Hunkus, declined to give an opinion on the bill, with good reason.  He stated that the bill has yet to be introduced in a final form and many changes can occur between now and the Senate floor vote. 

If you’d like to voice your concerns on SB-5, feel free to contact your Summit County state senators.  You can contact Senator Frank LaRose at (614) 466-4823 or Senator Tom Sawyer at (614) 466-7041.


” #1.2013932:3661034037.JPG:Protesters:Thousands of protesters gathered inside and outside the Ohio Statehouse on Tuesday to fight Senate Bill 5, which could restrict collective bargaining rights for state employees, which includes The University of Akron professors.:David Robinson Jr.”
“#1.2013980:2838268863.JPG:Protestors outside Statehouse:Signs and T-shirts made by protestors in large part attacked newly-elected Ohio Governor John Kasich. The crowd chanted for former Gov. Ted Strickland before entering the Statehouse:David Robinson, Jr.”
“#1.2013941:1391243591.JPG:Protesting Bill 5:Most of the protesters that showed up at the Ohio Statehouse to speak out against Senate Bill 5 wore t-shirts or made signs to get their message across. Some people (pictured above) got a little more creative with their demonstration against Gov. John Kasich:David Robinson, Jr.”