After working very hard to suggest amendments to SB 5 that would have made it less excessive and more fair, I was tuned out by a majority of my colleagues. The bill that passed goes well beyond what even management lawyers suggested was necessary to restore balance between public sector management and public sector labor. I voted against the bill – twice – and was deprived of the chance to do so a third time when Senate leadership removed me from the Committee that was hearing the bill.
My speeches on the Senate floor politely but firmly pointed out the many flaws in this bill – flaws that could have been corrected through fair negotiation and debate, but were not corrected in the feverish effort to quickly pass the bill. For standing up for simple justice for law enforcement officers, firefighters, teachers, and professors across this great State, my reward was to be removed as Chairman of the Committee I chaired, and removed from that Committee, too. This retaliation cost me $6,500 – about 10% of my pay.
Because most voters are independent-minded, I believe the broader electorate is tired of bully politics whether practiced by Republicans or Democrats. What has happened to me, as a result of my opposition to Senate Bill 5, is surely a taste of things to come for Ohio’s working families if Senate Bill 5 is allowed to stand. After all, the typical worker isn’t a sitting State Senator from the majority party. Why shouldn’t they fear the worst if this bill is permitted to become law?
We can do better than Senate Bill 5. We can make Ohio great again – together. We cannot achieve that goal by dividing neighbor against neighbor for the benefit of an elite few seeking to plunder the public and private sectors alike.
My friends, you are embarked upon a great adventure. It will not be easy, but there are those times when human resolve to do the right thing must trump partisan politics and even an act of the legislature. It is solely up to you whether the people’s voice will heard. The General Assembly has failed you. You cannot fail yourselves.
Yours for a Better Ohio,
William J. Seitz