Saturday, September 10, 2011

Collective Bargaining - Issue 2 in Ohio

How long of a response time are you willing to wait?  Vote yes on Issue 2

 One of the saddest platforms of the Republican Party is the fight to take away collective bargaining rights from public and private employees in Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin.  What can they be thinking?  These rights are what have made our country strong and the middle class strong and in no way weaken our economy or our country.  That we have had a thriving middle class is what has made the U.S. the envy of the world and why so many foreigners look at our Statue of Liberty as a beacon  of freedom  and of all that is good with this country.  In the U.S., collective bargaining rights have given an equal shake to everyone who wants to work in this country.  That the Republican Party wants to dismantle collective bargaining rights for workers is unconscionable to me.

President Obama, in his Labor Day Proclamation, has said, "The right to organize and collectively bargain is a fundamental American value."  No kidding!  And, here in Ohio, collective bargaining is a referendem on November's ballot as Issue 2.  I believe this is such an important issue that I returned to Ohio from Florida just to sign the petition to put this issue on as a referendum to this ballot in November.

Vote yes on Issue 2 in November and you will be voting to keep collective bargaining rights for employees here in Ohio.  Especially for public employees, such as, teachers, nurses,  firefighters, police, and state and federal public employees.  These employees are the heartbeat of our towns and cities across Ohio.

By voting yes on Issue 2 you will be voting to keep the middle class moving forward and not becoming stagnant and starting to shrink in size.  As a former teacher, this is an issue near and dear to my heart.  While I know people will complain that all collective bargaining does is fight for pay and benefits for public employees, that is not all that collective bargaining does.

As a teacher, I appreciated every wage increase and benefit I received; however, there were the other issues that teachers were able to get resolved with collective bargaining.  Did you know that collective bargaining helped teachers to bargain class sizes with administrators?  Yes, if not for collective bargaining your son or  daughter would be sitting in classes with 40 to 45 other students.  Through collective bargaining we were able to keep class sizes down to 25 to 30 students per class.  The length of the school day is determined by collective bargaining.  Do you realize without collective bargaining rights, administrators could demand that teachers be present on the job from 7 in the morning until 7 in the evening or later?  Talk about teacher burn-out.  And, that it could arbitrarily lengthen the school day for your son or daughter also?

Teachers, for example, do more than just teach their subject matter.  Many take on extra-curricular activities before and after school for the benefit of your children.  Those sports your children enjoy playing so much are coached by teachers who have spent all day in the classroom beforehand.  Spanish Club, Debate Team, Academic Challenge, Power of the Pen, Key Club, Booster Club,Pep Club,National Honor Society, Newspaper and Yearbook Advisers - all these take extra time beyond the school day and preparation to advise and would be non-paid if not for collective bargaining.  And, teachers would be forced, against their will, to advise these activities without collective bargaining.   Would you ever give of your time and expertise in any area on the job without being paid for it?  Of course not!  Why should teachers be expected to do these things for free?

With the budget cuts coming up fast and furiously to help bring down the deficit, public employees stand to be the first layed off and their jobs and positions lost forever.  Most likely, they will never be called back to work again because the job positions have been done away with permanently.  Do you think your life will be easier because of this?  Try getting your mail delivered on time as the result of this.  You think the health industry is a bureaucratic mess now, think what will happen when there are less employees to service the claims that come in daily.  Do you think the streets will be safer for you and your children when there are less policemen  and women patrolling them?  And what do you think will be the response time when you call 911?  When a fire is accidentally started in your home, would you like to wait thirty minutes instead of five minutes for the firefighters to arrive?

Also, the American dream will die if collective bargaining is revolked.  Without collective bargaining the middle class will shrink out of existance.  We will become a nation of haves and have nots.  Great if you are a have.  But what if you end up in the have nots end?  What will become of you and your children then?  What if opportunity and "the pursuit of happiness" evaporates? 

Join President Obama and me in keeping and restoring collective bargaining rights for all Americans who rely on them and need them.  In Ohio, vote yes on Issue 2 in November and keep the middle class strong and vital.  Let's believe in ourselves and what we CAN do.

" . . . . on this Labor Day, we reaffirm that collective bargaining is a cornerstone of the American dream.
                                                                                                ---President Barack Obama