Monday, March 28, 2011

Senate Bill 5 Will Transfer Power to Few

By MAUREEN REEDY, GUEST COLUMNIST for Suburban News Publication 
Published: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 1:36 PM EDT 
Maureen Reedy is an Upper Arlington Schools teacher and the 2002 Ohio Teacher of the Year.

"One of the darkest days in our state's history occurred when Ohio's Senators voted to strip educators, policemen, firefighters, nurses and others of their right to collectively bargain under the guise of "fixing" the state budget.

Ohio's middle-class citizens are not the cause of the current fiscal crisis, yet they are being asked to bear the weight of the state's economic woes. Meanwhile the wealthiest Ohioans have received new tax breaks that cause the state to go further into debt. What is really going on here? Could it be that Gov. John Kasich is making good on his wish to "break the back of organized labor in the schools?"

Ohio's public employees have bargained in good faith and agreed to extend contracts with base pay freezes, implement higher deductible health care plans, reduce employees, address sick leave and workplace-improvement planning policies.

Why is collective bargaining so important? Because it provides all interested parties a seat at the table to come up with the best policies for our kids: class size, instructional resources, professional development, supports for special needs children, an extended school year and more. Without collective bargaining, educators with professional expertise and years of experience in the classroom are left out of the equation. It makes no sense to silence us."

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Senate Bill 5 will transfer power to few