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Union workers in public, private sectors forge alliance to repeal SB 5

Published: Wed, November 2, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Karl Henkel



Senate Bill 5, which will appear Tuesday on the general election ballot as Issue 2, has divided the Mahoning Valley and Ohio with a brightly contrasted line.

But on either side of that line, the issue has forged partnerships and solidarity, creating two behemoth groups.

What started as a public- versus private-sector compensation debate has morphed into a union rights’ battle, with public and private unions generally sticking together.

“It’s kind of brought labor together,” said Dave Green, president of United Auto Workers Local 1714, a private-sector union with 1,450 members at the General Motors Co. Lordstown plant.

“There’s been more solidarity between labor workers than there has been in 30 years.”

Together, Ohio’s public and private-sector unions in 2010 had about 655,000 employees. That’s 12 percent of the state’s 5.5 million work force, making Ohio the fifth-most unionized state in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Issue 2, as SB 5 is presented on the ballot, would curb some collective-bargaining rights for public employees. One of the sticking points has been health-care contributions from those employees.

But a recent Ohio study found that a majority do contribute to that funding.

There are 6.6 percent of public employees that have union and individual contracts where the employer picks up the employee’s share of the contribution.

These often include school superintendents and district treasurers.

Christopher Mabe, president of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, a public employee, said the vast majority of public workers don’t fall into that category and that the concern with Issue 2 is about the majority.

“There’s nobody out here as far as public employees saying, ‘We want more, we want more,’” he said. “We believe the collective-bargaining process gives us a fair and equitable time frame to deal with economic, work and life issues.”

Mabe isn’t alone, and a local group of unions continues to step on the gas to abolish Senate Bill 5.

His fellow civil-service workers, Doug Sollitto, president of Ohio State Penitentiary Chapter 5041, and Eric Kusky, president of Chapter 7820, have fought to get their message out for months, especially when it pertains to the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, the private-business entity with about 2,800 members.

Tony Paglia, the chamber’s vice president of government affairs, earlier this year described SB 5 a “common-sense approach.” That statement set off fireworks throughout the business community.

Sollitto and Kusky then called for those nonchamber members to halt all business transactions with chamber members and started a “nonpartisan” chamber offshoot.

Green’s UAW local also showed its disdain for the chamber’s position. Green returned an award he received from the chamber last year for the plant’s success.

“For them [the chamber] to kind of turn things off and focus on political avenues, it was disheartening for us,” he said.

And that’s when the story turned. It became less of a public- versus private-sector argument and more of a union rights’ issue.

Mabe said he hopes the union support in the private sector will help secure a victory Tuesday in repealing SB 5.


1Oop81269(16 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Let me give you some info directly from SB5. If an employee is SUSPECTED of taking part in a strike he forfits TWICE his daily pay for those days that he is SUSPECTED of having taken part in the strike, but, it is up to the employee to PROVE that he did not take part in the strike (what if he was in the hospital) and has to sign a sworn affidavit and go to court to get his money back. 12 People APPOINTED by the Governor, President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the house; all of these get paid out of THE SCHOOL EMPLOYEES HEALTH CARE FUND and reimbursed for all "operating expenses paid for out of THE SCHOOL EMPLOYEES HEALTH CARE FUND and according to Ohio Revised Code 124.15 which means that the can make as much as $32.00 per hour for a 40 hour week and they don't pay for their health care because they are state appointees and get it for FREE! (2) Members shall receive compensation fixed pursuant to division
(J)(A) of section 124.15 of the Revised Code and shall be reimbursed from
the school employees health care fund for actual and necessary expenses
incurred in the performance of their official duties as members of the board. THEN there are another 18 bureaucrats appointed to watch over these 12, all with the same free ride. Oh and I almost forgot, They also get to hire their own aides and these get paid for out of the SCHOOL EMPLOYEES HEALTH CARE FUND. For each and every profession listed in these adds they are going to add more bureaucrats that will cost even more tax payer money. How does any of this sound right to you? Don't beleive me?
OK, here is something to actually read.
At the very least make an educated vote and don't be one of the "sheepeople" blindly following a political party. Here is a link to all 304 pages.
Project Vote Smart condensed version.

And this page will link you to all the ballot issues in Ohio.

This page allows you to look up all the Ohio Revised Codes that the are talking about.

Copy and paste these links into your browser. Get informed. Make an informed vote!

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2fd6636(255 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Oop81269: Beauitiful!!!!! How can u dispute that!!!!!

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3fd6636(255 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Read cleveland plain dealer.com today.Kasich and dewine already finger pointing at projected loss os issue 2!!! love it!!!!!!!!!!

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4newsmaker1(127 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

The Public unions are screaming, we don't want to pay . They actually have fears of a Union collaspe.

I have never seen so many Union paid commercials that tell bold face lies.

1.Trying to include nurses- Union said, nurses won't be able to give quality care
This was an outright lie-they work in the private-sector.

2. Saying that grand daughter will dies in fires. That union claim alone indicates this Union is out of control.

I have not heard one proposal from the Union thats speaks to them paying their own way. Not one. .

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5WhatRUAfraidOf(85 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Although I work in the public sector, I pay 15% of my salary toward my health insurance. I am not in a union and don't think unions are a very good thing in the type of profession I am in. However, my concern with SB5, and why I will vote NO on issue 2, is that once Kasich and his cronies are done union-busting the public sector, the next thing they will try to go after, especially if they win, is prevailing wages for construction workers on publicly-funded contracts. THAT hits too close to home.

If it were up to him and his buddies, the V&M job would be all non-union and no prevailing wages. He was down there a few weeks ago saying how great it is that this work is going on during his administration. POPPYCOCK! He had NOTHING TO DO with this project. Strickland is the one who worked with politicians from our area and the company to get this project in Youngstown/Girard.

Doesn't anyone see the writing on the wall with Kasich? He's not trying to create jobs that have decent pay and benefits. He's doing his best to precipitate fighting in the middle class by pitting one group against another, while creating a few maybe minimum-wage jobs with no benefits. I could see this coming when he was elected. I'm glad I didn't vote for him.

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6samIam(213 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

SB2 shall pass by 150,000 votes >take it to the bank
We the taxpayers are tired of being victimized by Public Sector Unions. Every last one of them!

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7fd6636(255 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

news maker: had there been 6 firefighters there instead of say 18, the grand daughter WOULD be dead!! Don't post before you get yor facts straight. Hey news: How many firefighters does it take to effectively extinguish a two story house by NFPA guidelines? Don't worry if you don't know, your elected officals don't know either! BUT ask a firefighter, they know. this is the problem with SB5: Gives all the power to the politicans who dont know the job, but makes all the decisions, WE DO!!!! VOTE NO ON ISSUE 2!! LEAVE THE WORK TO THE PROFESSIONALS WHO UNDERSTAND IT!!!

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8AnotherAverageCitizen(1174 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

samlam, Looks like your bank will need a BAILOUT

I agree the firefighters know and understand the job they do. The politician does not. That is why we

I am with you all the way.....

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9fd6636(255 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

thanks average! VOTING NO ON 2!!!!

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10Stan(9923 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

The Valley has never seen a tax that it didn't like . Let the good times and the much higher taxes roll . . . ..

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11card64inmyrtle(26 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago


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