The November election is a little more than a month away, and already Ohioans are clamoring at the chance to vote yes or no on Issue 2, also known as Senate Bill 5. The issue restricts collective bargaining rights for the state's roughly 360,000 public-sector employees. Not one Democrat voted for the bill when it passed the GOP-controlled legislature in March.
We ran our first article on on Sept. 17, and ever since, Patch readers have been debating the pros and cons.
We've received hundreds of comments, but here's a sample of some of the viewpoints our readers have been discussing.
Several people said they won't vote for Issue 2 because they say it will raise taxes, to which several commenters responded:
says: What makes you think that your taxes won't be going up? This is a bill to break the unions. They never promised that it will keep your taxes from going up. When I began teaching in the 60's, our salaries put us in the lower class financially. Nearly all of us came from middle class backgrounds. After teaching for 40 years, I was receiving a respectable salary thanks to union bargaining over the years. When I began teaching there was a nationwide severe shortage of teachers. If you reduce the total package for a teacher's salary, who is going to go through those 5 years of college with so little incentive to receive an income commesurate with their abilities?
says: Your taxes are going to go up reqardless (sic) at least with Issue 2 we protect those we need the most Police, Firefighters and Teachers (who are grossly underpaid, despite what someone said about $51.00 an hour) VOTE NO ON ISSUE 2.
Others want Issue 2 to pass because they say it will give power back to employers.
says: I'm voting to uphold SB5. The employees of the state of Ohio have no right to hold me hostage, and SB5 begins to restore balance to the employer/employee relationship.
In response, says: ...This will take away rights of not only firefighters, police and teachers, but also office workers and road crews and building custodians (just to name a few). Most of these workers had to face the economic realities of the recession back when the recesson started. It is untrue that public employees do not contribute to their pensions or healthcare costs. There are are also quite a few who have negotiated to pay more than the percentages quoted in the tv ads.
Others are simply looking for more information and asking questions before they vote:
says: If you have a position please offer some facts and support your argument. Take for example the claim by one side that SB5 is an attempt to destroy the middle-class and will result in minimum wages. Please explain how SB5 causes that to happen ? Where can we find those provisions in SB5 ? Make your case in an intelligent and civil manner.
answers: SB 5 doesn't prescribe wages. It allows cities to take at will from their employees. There is no unbiased third party protection from them doing this. Safety forces can't even strike like the private sector can, should they not like the terms of employment. It's illegal. Did you know that's why collective bargaining was instituted in the first place? A neutral third-party was given in exchange for the ability to strike. Now, they're taking the neutral third-party without giving back the ability to strike. Sound fair to you? Sounds like it's eliminating the rights of the workers and the middle class to me.
also responded: ...Keep in mind that the salary is only the beginning---in many districts the teachers pay nothing toward their retirement and health care----issue 2 would require that they pay 15% of their health care and 10% toward their pension. about 90% of the private sector would only dream about such low costs. In the private sector, failure to make a profit results in layoffs, or closure, while with public employees simply roll out the banners and propaganda machine, talk poor, and demand the taxpayer fork over---of course its for the children, nothing selfish here. The same with policemen and firefighters, they are not being asked to take cuts in salary or benefits, only that fairness be introduced to the argument. Issue 2[SB5} is the fair answer.