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Local leaders rally against SB 5 changes to collective bargaining laws


Erika White displays a shirt showing her position on Senate Bill 5 during a news conference Monday at Warren AME Church in Toledo. Her husband, James White, a Toledo firefighter, is at left.

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Opponents of Ohio Republicans’ efforts to limit collective bargaining rights rallied Monday morning in advance of Gov. John Kasich’s release Tuesday of his budget proposal.

Religious, labor, and civil rights leaders joined union members and Democratic officials at Warren African Methodist Episcopal Church Monday in solidarity against Senate Bill 5. They railed against the proposed bill that would, among other things, outlaw strikes by all public employees and limit topics of discussion at the negotiating table to wages and terms and conditions of employment.

They continued claims the bill will impact more than just public employees.

“This assault of SB 5 on them is an assault on us,” said Rev.  Cedric  Brock, pastor of Mount Nebo Church on North Detroit Avenue and president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance. “Our whole community is at stake.”

Speakers framed the fight as one of class warfare, claiming Wall Street interests are taking rights and benefits from the middle class. Many brought up the financial collapse and subsequent bailout by the federal government.

“I will never call this country the United States of Corporate America,” Rep.  Teresa  Fedor (D., Toledo) said.

Mr. Kasich is expected to propose Tuesday deep cuts to education and local government funding, and argues limiting collective bargaining will give municipalities and schools the flexibility to sustain those cuts. The bill has cleared the Ohio Senate and will almost certainly pass the House, but Democratic state elected officials Monday repeated vows to fight for a repeal. 

“It will never become law. You know why?” State Rep. Matt Szollosi (D., Oregon) asked the crowd. “Because this will be on the ballot in November, and there’s no way the people of Ohio are going to stand for this.”

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