URGENT: Ohio residents in State Senate District 24-Please contact our Senator re: SB5

I don’t care whether you are for SB5 or not. I just want you to please let our State Senator, Tom Patton, know where you stand with it. Sen. Patton is an unique member of our general assembly when it comes to SB5 because he has spoken and voted in support of unions before, he is the son of a police officer and extremely tragically, his son died in the line of duty last year.

Here is his contact information:

Phone: 614-466-8056

E-mail: SD24@senate.state.oh.us

You can read more here:

Phillip Morris’ column in today’s PD

Blog post by Ohio Daily Blog

The debate about the role of unions in general and the role they play in our economy and budget is a volatile one. Please voice your opinion.

My opinion? Decapitating bargaining rights is for the weak. It is political leaders and electeds who sit on the other side of the negotiating table and those political leaders and electeds who are trying to simply toss out the table are being lazy and weak. Negotiating is tough stuff – but so is democracy. I do not have any huge love for unions – I’ve told my story before re: being at Yale Univ. for three years, just after the union came in there. But I absolutely believe that employees should have the right to join together to bargain for what they want, just as others who are parties to a contract have the right to negotiate back.

And as a Pepper Pike City Council Member, I’ve seen and continue to see how agonizing the process can be.

If good faith – not just money – were in abundant supply, none of this would be going on in the first place.

NB: I more or less copied and pasted this post from a Facebook note I wrote this morning.  Do you see what I did not write or indicate, even once, in anyway?  Our state senator’s political party.  It’s not hard to guess, given that it’s the Ohio State Senate, but even so, it’s barely relevant except in terms of bringing sanity to the process through someone.  It may as well be our state senator – I hope and pray.

And yes, I have called the Senator and I will be sending an email follow-up.

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4 thoughts on “URGENT: Ohio residents in State Senate District 24-Please contact our Senator re: SB5

  1. Isn’t that interesting how similarly we felt and acted, esp. at that stage in our lives?

    The very sad part is that I don’t think it’s difficult to accept the concept of equal bargaining power – as an abstract concept. I think it’s not hard to get to wanting that.

    The difficulty is in defining those terms and then not misusing those definitions for political gains that amount only to a quid pro quo.

    It is really this incredibly entrenched notion of having to give and get something for something else when we show support or receive support that has gone so incredibly awry – especially in the public service arena.

    For a while now, I’ve really been thinking a great deal about how we extract the business of politics from public service. I feel that this is at the root of the worst that we see.

  2. Sounds somewhat like my lone experience of being in a union.

    Summer after my freshman year in college I took a job for a local uniform company (like Cintas, only it wasn’t Cintas). The pay was more than I had ever made, the hours were good, it was a close commute, in short it was a pretty good summer job.

    Well, with just about a month before I was going to leave to go back to school, the other workers unionized (it was a close vote, probably because the company did seem to treat its employees well). Because Ohio is not a right to work state, I was forced to join the union as well.

    I explained my situation to the local rep and head (i.e., I was leaving in a month) and asked if they would relieve me of not having to pay dues. No dice. And because the shop had just joined, the dues were more up front in order to get everything going. The dues they took out of my remaining paychecks would’ve paid for my books for the year.

    I know it’s just because of my experience, but that’s why I think if the state is going to try to reform anything it would be to allow Ohio to be a right to work state (or at least make exceptions to having to join a union for short-term employees).

  3. Hi Greg – hope you’re well.

    Ugh – will try to be succinct! I could go on and on re: Yale. First, here’s a link to what was going on there just before I started working there (within a very thorough history of unions at Yale; the relevant part for me starts with the paragraph that begins, “Beginning in the late 1940s, but really taking off in the mid-late 1960s,…”

    Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/federation-of-hospital-and-university-employees#ixzz1Eo81GCAf

    http://www.answers.com/topic/federation-of-hospital-and-university-employees

    More recently:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/16/nyregion/16yale.html

    People need to know New Haven and the area to fully appreciate, but for one thing, Yale is the biggest employer and has been for many, many years.

    So – I grew up outside New Haven, my mother worked in an MB&B lab as a researcher in the 70s and 80s, and I was away at college from 80-84. I spent a year abroad and returned to the area, job-hunting. I got a job first in Yale’s Sterling Library (helping digitize library punch cards!!) and then got a permanent FT job in the Development Office. It was a Clerical/Technical position – i.e., union. Yes, I was required to have dues pulled from my paycheck, no, I never joined the union. I was constantly courted (which means having our sack lunches in an office lunchroom and being talked to and asked why I wouldn’t join and hearing explanations of why I should).

    My biggest issue was and remains the extent to which merit is excluded from some, not all, union schemas. Remember, I was just out of college, a competitive college, and totally thought and still think that merit deserves recognition.

    I BELIEVE THAT SENIORITY DOES TOO – that is loyalty, institutional knowledge, dedication and so on.

    These are not mutually exclusive.

    But there seemed to be no room for that in the thinking I encountered.

    I used the university’s agreed upon procedure (agreed upon w/the union) to get my job recategorized to a different pay level because I was doing so much more than my job description and making so little on top of knowing that I’d never get more just for doing the job well or for going beyond what was expected of me. That did and still does bother me – rightly so.

    The process took something like 15 months (I began it within a few months of starting my job) and by the time the decision came down (no, they wouldn’t re-categorize me into a different pay level), the head of Corporate and Professional Foundation Relations hired me into a management level job (and I was promoted again, within less than 18 months, into a position created for me and which was approved as a management level and therefore exempt position).

    Now – again – you have to know Yale and New Haven to fully appreciate the role of the unions there. There is NO question about the need and the power. And when I was there, they’d JUST come off an enormously tense and difficult and bitter battle. There was one worker in my office who, after the approval of the new contract, after the union was voted in, had a 35 year seniority-based raise – it was in the tens of thousands.

    BUT – some of these people had been horrifically underpaid.

    Anyway – it was and is complicated there. But that 2009 article shows you how far they’ve come and how they need each other.

    So – no, I do not believe people should be forced to join unions or be fired. I am torn about whether the dues should be taken out even if you are not going to join – I think this has more to do with whether you/your job benefit directly from what the unions negotiate. As I said, I hated that my pay was reduced by union dues even though I didn’t want to join. But I absolutely knew and recognized that I benefited from what they did. I think it is wrong to not recognize that.

    Mostly, I want people to bargain in good faith, from both sides. That does happen and can happen – but it requires transparency, authenticity and work.

    Getting rid of collective bargaining is the wimp’s way out and signals that a leader needs to strongarm people to get what they want. That is never a good base to work from, in the long-term.

    Thanks for asking:)

  4. Jill,

    Don’t think I’ve read what happened to you at Yale.

    Anyways, you wrote that you believe employees should have the right to join together (i.e., unionize). Was wondering where you stand on the “right to work” issue? Do you think that workers should also have the option of not joining a union should their fellow workers decide to unionize?

    Thanks.

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