If you thought the Democrats were bad, just wait until you get a load of the Republicans. John Kasich and all his friends in Columbus are continuing their crusade against Ohio with a bill aimed at destroying worker unions for all state employees, entitled Senate Bill 5. They claim this move is necessary for fixing Ohio’s economy; however, that argument is devoid of all fact and reason.
“If you thought the Democrats were bad, just wait until you get a load of the Republicans. John Kasich and all his friends in Columbus are continuing their crusade against Ohio with a bill aimed at destroying worker unions for all state employees, entitled Senate Bill 5. They claim this move is necessary for fixing Ohio’s economy; however, that argument is devoid of all fact and reason.
First, let’s address their misleading argument of helping Ohio’s economy. If you were to crunch the numbers of Ohio’s budget, you would find that about nine percent of that spending is afforded to all public employees. Teachers, police, fire fighters and road and sanitation workers, to name a few, are all included in that category.
If we didn’t pay every single government employee in the state of Ohio, we wouldn’t even be cutting one-tenth of the expenditures, not to mention we would be left without any of those services. Clearly, collective bargaining has absolutely nothing to do with the financial problems in Ohio.
A more disturbing fact of this bill is the speed at which it is being pushed through the state congress and the secrecy involved. Let’s do a little comparison between President Obama’s health care bill and this bill. Republicans such as Kasich cynically criticized Obama for the speed at which the health care bill was passed, when in all reality, the bill was discussed publicly for months. This bill against unions is being pushed through Columbus by the same Republicans who criticized Obama in a matter of weeks, and in near complete secrecy. To call Governor Kasich a hypocrite would be a massive underestimation.
Even though every public employee will be direly affected by this bill, those that will be most affected are teachers and public school students. Collective bargaining affords teachers an alternative to striking. If negotiations are held between parties at neutral places outside of the classroom, teachers can remain in class teaching students as opposed to worrying about negotiating. Unions are also the reason why public school class sizes remain low. Studies have shown that students learn more and classes are more productive when there are fewer students in the room. Before collective bargaining existed in public education, class sizes were regularly upwards of 40 students per teacher. More students per teacher means less time spent individually with each student.
In addition to creating abysmal classroom conditions, this bill is aimed at destroying jobs. Without Unions defending public employees, there will be massive cuts and more responsibilities given to those that are left. Kasich ran on a platform of job creation, yet all of the policies of his administration have been the exact opposite of that, including this one.
Ohio has one of the best teacher training programs in the whole country. To fully fix the problems of this state, we need to keep the most highly qualified people here and in our public jobs. Who in his right mind is going to stay in Ohio when he can go to another state and get benefits twice as good?
Lastly, we must consider the question of why. Why should public employees be denied the very thing that defines America? The right to form in groups for a common goal is at the heart of what it means to be an American. Groups that form in peace must always be protected – especially from governmental intervention – as well as encouraged.
To use an infamous Republican phrase, government is not the answer to fixing Ohio. The only way we are going to solve our problems in this state is by working together. We as a community must come together and decide what is important for our state, not rely on the personal vendettas of vindictive politicians to save our state. Only we can decide for Ohio. What will you decide?