Vote For Ohio's Community - No on Two
Halloween decorations are still up when we celebrate our second favorite fall holiday - Election Day. Alex and I value voting and have taken Lil to the polls with us since she was a tiny babe. We always try to explain the issues to Lil. Defining the differences between politicians is difficult for her to comprehend but issues are usually more understandable. Here's how the discussion on Issue 2, the proposed repeal of an Ohio Senate bill that restricts bargaining rights of public sector employee groups, went down:
Rachel, explaining: "In our country when you work for a company, workers are allowed to form a group called a union to talk about how much money they are paid, what hours they will work, and how the company treats them. Government workers, like Alex, police officers, firefighters, and teachers, can form unions.
Some of Ohio's senators passed a bill that doesn't allow union groups to negotiate with their bosses. Issue 2 is about whether that bill was a good idea or not. What do you think?"
Lil's answer: "I think that unions have to be able to talk to their bosses. I think that if people want to have workers, they have to be nice to them. If they aren't nice to them, they won't have good workers." Smart cookie, I say.
This year, Alex became a member of the American Federation of Government Employees. I asked him to include his opinions about Issue 2:
Public sector unions serve an important role in protecting the rights of public employees and enhancing the services they provide to the general public. Firefighters and police officers are able to bargain for better safety equipment, leading to improved efficiencies. Teachers are able to bargain for smaller class sizes and deliver higher quality of education. Administrative and technical personnel bargain for improved working conditions, retaining highly qualified employees who might otherwise be attracted to work elsewhere.
Over the past several years my union has bargained on issues concerning the conditions under which employees at my agency work. We have negotiated flexible work hours, enhanced job training and an expansion of telework policies. The union also serves as a very functional tool by which employees can resolve grievances with their management. Without these improvements in the workplace, I and several co-workers likely would have looked for work in the private sector. A high turnover of well-qualified employees costs tax payers.
Proponents of Issue 2 argue that the majority of the bill is about reducing pay and benefits due to tough budgetary times. While the argument that we should all race to the bottom in terms of compensation and turn into wage slaves should be discussed on its own merits, it is a red herring. Issue 2 is plain and simple about union busting. Certain segments of our political spectrum view unions with loathing and believe they should be brought low at every opportunity. Issue 2 is about reducing the influence of unions and increasing the absolute control the government has over its workers.
I will vote no on 2 to preserve my ability to unionize effectively, to retain high quality workers in government service, and to maintain efficient public sector practices.
When you go to the polls, we hope you will support the public sector community of Ohio and vote No on 2. If you disagree, we still hope you go vote, as it is our most precious national right.
Consult the Ohio Secretary of State election page for info about where and how to vote.
PS. Ironically, the only other time I used this platform to address politics, I was also advocating a No on Ohio Issue Two. I wonder what Issue 2 will be next election cycle?