RELATED: SB 5 clears Senate 17-16
By Marc Kovac
Harvey McClary pointed to the sky between a couple of tall buildings near the Statehouse on Wednesday, just as an airplane passed overhead.
Trailing was a banner, paid for by Portage County Tea Party members, he said, showing their support of sweeping reforms to the state’s collective bargaining laws.
“Now, the state workers are making more money than the people that are paying them,” he said. “The people that are paying them are working for $11, $12 an hour and they’re making way more with better benefits. The whole thing’s upside down.”
McClary, a Diamond resident, is a retired autoworker and union member of more than 50 years. But unlike the other union representatives who have rallied at the Statehouse in recent weeks, McClary is backing Senate Bill 5.
“The fact of it is, schoolteachers and civil-service workers are holding our state hostage and the children hostage,” he said. “Teachers can get an honest living without having to have a union to get it.”
McClary was among the dozens of representatives of Tea Party groups who held a mini-rally at the Statehouse Wednesday.
They and other proponents of the legislation have called for the changes to help the state and local governments better control their costs and reduce spending, particularly in light of an estimated $8 billion hole in the coming biennial budget.
“Collective bargaining, among other tools, is a way to bind the hands of our elected and other officials and prevent them from making decisions which they’re afraid would be arbitrary or unfair,” said Ted Lacksonen, a photographer and writer from Gambier. “Unfortunately, the cost of the process to go through the bargaining ... has created an incredibly inflexible and expensive form of government.”