Youngstown Vindicator, 9/16/2011
Republicans weren’t ‘acting’

An editorial a few weeks ago called, “Ohio Republicans are to blame for partisan tone in Columbus,” attempted to paint Republicans as opponents of negotiation. However, that argument runs afoul with the facts.

That editorial described Republicans reaction to the absence of unions at the negotiating table as “just an act.” I hardly believe that anyone would be truly shocked that government union leadership in Columbus would be unwilling to negotiate. This is how the process has worked from day one, when one union would want to talk another would not let them. Regardless of what they want you to believe, it has been the unions—not the Republicans—who have opposed open talks about the bill.

It is disingenuous for government union leadership in Columbus to demand compromise in one breath and then refuse it the next, when the doors were clearly opened. Senate President Niehaus aptly described the unions’ call for repeal as an “ultimatum, not a negotiation.” The fact is that the unions’ steadfast belief in the importance of negotiating was mere words without action.

The action of government union leadership in Columbus proves that their primary interest is not public employees. If SB 5 is indeed so bad for these employees, then surely the unions would be willing to do everything in their power to minimize the effects of the bill. They are hurting the very people they claim to want to protect by refusing to meet with Republican leaders. Moreover, Democrat Representatives and Senators took away the voice of those they have a duty to represent.

The truth is that SB 5 is necessary to rein in government spending to stabilize the budgets of local governments. The unions should tell their members that SB 5 reforms collective bargaining, but it also helps them keep their job. Union leadership understands this fact and yet they are unwilling to negotiate.

Overall, I think it was appropriate to reach out in one last attempt to talk prior to the deadline. I would suggest it was more than was offered in 1983 when collective bargaining raced through the Democratic controlled House, Senate, and executive branch.

State Rep. Barbara Sears, Sylvania

The writer is a Republican representing the 46th District near Toledo and is assistant House majority floor leader.


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