Interesting Times

November 9, 2011 § 3 Comments

Living in in interesting times indeed. I hope everyone went out and exercised  their right to vote yesterday as I did. I mainly went  to vote on the referendum  to repeal Ohio senate bill 2 which was Ohio’s version of the union busting bills that have been put into place in several states lately, taking away state employees right to collective bargaining and making it illegal for them to go on strike amongst other things. I am very pleased to say that the referendum passed and senate bill 2 will now be taken off the books and not only that it passed but that it passed in such an overwhelming manner that even our esteemed governor John Kasich had to acknowledge it and eat a bit of  humble  pie. Something I am sure that wasn’t easy for him as he is so sure of himself that like several other republican governors he recently turned down  millions of dollars from President Obama’s stimulus package that could have helped many out of work Ohioans. As even while he demanded that others take pay cuts with his support of this bill he is willing to refuse money  that could extend many Ohioans unemployment benefit’s , money that thousands of Ohio businesses could have greatly used as well. But back to the subject at hand. My concern was not whether some state employees were making too much money and needed to pay more on their insurance plans or even whether or not it would make it harder for first responders to do their jobs  These were  side issue for me .Important issues to be discussed but not the main reason this bill had to be repealed. Oh and just as a side note, being state employees themselves the politicians who passed senate bill 2 made sure to exempt themselves from it so that they could keep their salaries and the say so over whether they can give themselves raises or not.

I just did not want any government body in America and  especially  not one in the sate I live in taking more rights away from any American citizens. The whole idea sickens me. That elected politicians would and can take away hard-earned rights from any citizen of this country for any reason just blows my mind. Where does it ever stop once it gets started?  Do people really think that if given a chance politicians will not extend these kinds of measures into the private sector? I was really amazed that the issue of a government body taking away a set group of people’s rights didn’t get more play in the debate over this issue not even from the people who were trying to repeal the bill. The politicians who passed the bill framed it as an issue over money though in the end it got framed mainly as a safety issue with both sides claiming that their view would help firefighters and policemen and the other sides view would hurt them. On a personal level I agree that many state employees could pay a higher insurance premium more inline with what non state employees pay but I think that should be hammered out in legal negotiations not forced down people’s throats by some committee of politicians.

Ohio’s politicians might want to take a look at my home state of  Kentucky’s newly reelected governor Steve Beshear. While the 10% of their salary he  and six other members of his administration gave back to the state more than likely isn’t going to cause them much hardship or save the state’s budget as a symbol it was apparently quite powerful.  Lead By Example not by cowardly games and unfair legislation.

On a more local note. People in my own county also chose to continue to help the elderly and people with mental health issues. I am proud they chose to do what was right rather than take the easy way out in difficult times. At least for one day it was good to see that people can still put their own interests aside and help someone else.

On that note we start a new month of trivia questions with this easy one.

What country is known for the curse “May you live in interesting times”.?


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§ 3 Responses to Interesting Times

  • Janie says:

    Well, Cat, as a former State employee, I have to disagree with you a bit here. I don’t know what Ohio’s Union laws provide for, but in Pennsylania, we are a “closed shop” state, which means that the Unions somehow convinced the politicians to pass a bill to REQUIRE that all employees (except Management, the House and Senate) either join the union, or pay a “fair share” fee, which now equals 85% of what the Union dues would be. This means that whether or not you agree with what the Union does, you have to pay them an annual fee for them to “represent” you. When this started in the late 1970’s that fee was about $25 per pay. When I retired, it was well over $100 per pay. And, it wasn’t based on how much you made, so even the lower classifications paid as much as the higher ones did. What’s wrong with “fair share” you might ask? Well, first of all…it isn’t fair because as you see, some pay way more than their share.

    Second, the Union rarely has gained anything substantial for the State employees. In fact, they have lost so much, paying more and more every year for their own insurance, giving up vacation and sick days, giving up holidays, etc. So, what are the employees paying for…not representation!!!

    Third, the Union claims they only put 15% of the money they collect into campaign finance, and supporting elections. That is a bunch of bull, because I’ve looked at how much they would collect, and roughtly how much they donate to campaigns, pay for advertising, and pay lobbyist, and they spend way more than 15%.

    Fourth, just like you don’t want the Government to take away people’s rights, I don’t want the Union to give away my rights, or support a candidate that is completely opposite of what I believe in.

    Fifth, I know a lot of people who have gone to the Union for protection. Rarely do they get any. It mostly comes down to the fact that the Union Steward doesn’t want to tangle with Management in fear of their own jobs.

    Sixth, allowing office workers to be Unionized is just crazy and protects those who sit around and do nothing all day long and still collect a paycheck. Being management, I know how difficult it is to reprimand and/or fire a unionized employee. If an employee can’t stand up for themselves in an office setting, then there is something wrong. They usually don’t have a problem defending themselves when they are right, but when they know they are wrong, they run to the Union for protection!

    Unions in a construction or manufacturing setting, and one that isn’t a closed shop might work. But, it sure doesn’t work in an office setting and with a closed shop.

    Unions being so hard headed and refusing to negotiate have closed many businesses in Pennsylvania. Just ask someone who used to work for Pullman Standard, but was subsequently laid off because the Union wouldn’t give up their 15-20 weeks paid vacation every year. Or, ask someone who worked for Bethlehem Steel, who eventually closed down in Pennsylvania because the Union wouldn’t give up 4-6 weeks paid vacation, and wouldn’t help pay for unsurmountable insurance that included not only glasses, dentist, and prescription, but also long term care and burial costs.

    These things may not be happening in Ohio…but, be careful what you ask for!

    • catlst says:

      I agree not all unions are good or effective but that doesn’t make ohio’s bill any less wrong or the start of a very slippery slope. We can not let politions take something from us just because some may need to be changed.

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