Saturday, Jul 30, 2016
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Labor leaders again speak out against Senate Bill 5

COLUMBUS — Organized labor leaders continued to rail Thursday afternoon against proposed Senate Bill 5, arguing that the bill would not just erode union rights, but the quality of public services.

Paula Anderson, a critical care registered nurse at Ohio State University Ross Heart Hospital and president of the Ohio Nurses Association, said patient care improved through collective bargaining, as nurses spoke out about the danger of long shifts and the negative effect of low nurse staffing levels.

She argued that removing the right to collectively bargain those issues could mean the erosion of care publicly- employed nurses provide. "To remove the ability to negotiate these issues with management can only run the risk of patient care being compromised," she said.

Larry Cremeens, a member of the Ohio Civil Services Association, is a Vietnam War veteran who lost his right leg above the knee. He spent time as an outreach specialist for disabled veterans, and worked on an union advisory committee that worked to support veterans. "Without that union framework and collective bargaining background, the union would not have been nearly as successful as it has been in looking out for this group of people."

Less than 100 protestors were in the Ohio State House, but a committee hearing was packed to the brim with witnesses planning to testify on the proposed legislation.

About 70 people were set to testify before the committee, promising for a lengthy hearing. Most signed up to speak were there in opposition to the bill.

Among the anticipated witnesses is Toledo City Councilman D. Michael Collins, a former Toledo police officer and union president.

According to a prepared statement, Mr. Collins planned to testify against Senate Bill 5, claiming that problems in collective bargaining often are the fault of those at the table, not the process. "I firmly believe that the process works," Mr. Collins planned to say during his Thursday testimony. "The faults are a product of individuals in the process."

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