16 November 2011
Senate Bill 5: Danger for the Public
The Industrial Revolution brought about innumerable advancements and triumphs leading to the modern world we have today. However, all those wonderful benefits did not come without any negative counterparts. One of the most despicable and regrettable of these negatives would have to the inhumane treatment of the youth. Children were forced into torturous working conditions not fit for any human being. England’s Industrial Revolution was the home for an abundant amount of these injustices. Sarah Carpenter was eight years old when she began her thirteen year work agreement at the Cressbrook Mill in Derbyshire, England. In an interview with Joseph Rayner she described some of the horrible atrocities she experienced and witnessed throughout her life in the factory. One of the most disturbing instances she shares entails the death of a young girl:
Image from karen-history.wikispaces.com
"There was a young woman, Sarah Goodling, who was poorly and so she stopped her machine. James Birch, the overlooker, knocked her to the floor. She got up as well as she could. He knocked her down again. Then she was carried to the apprentice house. Her bed-fellow found her dead in bed”.
Due to horrific incidences such as this is the entire reason why we developed labor unions here in the United States of America; for the protection of our workers.
One of the main privileges provided to workers by these labor unions is collective bargaining. Collective bargaining is defined as “a type of negotiation used by employees to work with their employers”. Basically, a group of workers assembles and discusses ways they think their workplace could be improved then contact the union to get back-up. Typical issues discussed in collective bargaining include employees’ wages, benefits, working conditions, and rules of the workplace. Recently, John Kasich, Republican speaker of the house, introduced and passed a piece of legislation called Senate Bill 5 (SB 5) Ohio which deprives workers of this right to collectively bargain with their employers. This means that any government employed Ohioans will no longer be able to go through their union to negotiate any aspect of their job. Due to this, Laura Bischoff predicted that “workplace safety will be compromised”. However, there should be no worry about this though seeing as we have many civil rights protecting workers written into law. Many of these are relevant to the protection of minors preventing any tragedies that occurred during the Industrial Revolution. Such laws ban any minors from working in places that take part in slaughtering, meat packing, coal mining, demolition, power-driven and hoisting apparatus equipment, and multiple manufacturing positions. Minimum wage laws are also in place. Other Ohio laws dealing with workplace safety, workers’ compensation and disability rights can be found at http://ohio.gov/working/.
Picture form guardian.co.uk
Although Senate Bill 5 will not produce an unsafe work environment equivalent to that of the Industrial Revolution, it still has multiple negative outcomes on the public. One major downfall is that it will reduce most public workers pay. Due to the loss of collective bargaining, public workers will no longer be able to negotiate any aspect of their retirement (Connery). SB 5 also robs government employed workers of the right to strike (Connery). The bill actually outlaws striking entirely, making anyone who partakes in a strike subject to a 1000 dollar fine or up to 30 days in prison, simply for protesting for a more fair work environment. The picture of above represents possible police forces that will be used to disrupt and confine any and all strikers if this bill is passed. Hurting the individual worker is not the intent of the bill, just a negative outcome. The whole purpose of this bill is to cut Ohio’s debt.
Image from thetruthsyndicate.com
It entails budget cuts totaling roughly 4.5 billion
dollars. This mass amount is coming from a
$2,100,000,000 cut in public education, a $1,400,000,000 cut in Medicaid, and a $1,000,000,000 cut to all local governments (Hanauer). All these cuts affect hundreds of thousands of Ohioans. There are a reported 30,000 police officers and fire fighfighters that will be directly impacted by this bill. The video below shows heroic fire fighters and their disdain and opposition towards Senate Bill 5. Others directly affected will be comprised of 180,000 school teachers, 123,000 school district workers, and 300,000 general government employees. That is a total of 633,000 Ohio workers directly impacted by Senate Bill 5, a staggering 10.7% of Ohio’s population. Currently, Ohio’s unemployment calmly rests at 8.9%, about 525,000, and if Senate Bill 5 is passed it has been reported that all the funding cuts will result in 29,000 school employees being dismissed (Hanauer). It has also been estimated that these budget cuts will indirectly result in an additional 14,000 jobs being lost due to lack of revenue for salaries (Hanauer). That ends up in a guaranteed raise of unemployment to at least 9.4% and possibly 9.6%. Seeing as we are already currently in a recession, more lost jobs is not what we need.
Of all the people anticipated to lose jobs, teachers are among the highest with an expected 29,000 lost jobs across all of Ohio (Hanauer). They are certainly one the groups that will be getting hit the hardest by Senate Bill 5. As of right now, teachers salaries are based upon a step system. The graph below shows how the current system works. You simply find your level of education on the top row and match it to the years you have spent teaching on the side column. If SB 5 is passed, all teachers’ jobs and raises will now depend upon merit as opposed to years spent teaching. At the surface, this seems like a great idea, lousy teachers that make no attempt to improve their student’s education will no longer be able to keep their jobs simply because they have been “teaching” for 20 years. But how will supervisors realistically be able to judge the quality of a teacher? The main criteria found in SB 5 states that merit based pay for teachers will determined by two main gauges, attendance of students and the instruction quality of the professor. Once again, this sounds like quite the noble idea at first. Unfortunately, some less than honest teachers would be able to get around this by merely not marking students as absent when they don’t attend class to make their attendance look better than it really is. They also could grade all their assignments more leniently to ensure that a higher percentage of their classes pass with stellar grades to make their instruction quality depict a higher level than it truly is. This past July in Atlanta 178 teachers in 44 different schools were caught altering answers on a standardized test to better their schools national ranking. If teachers would go through all this trouble and risk their careers to just make their school look better I would have to imagine there would be some who will be more than willing to do the same to raise their pay. .
Picture from cnx.org
Another downfall educator’s face is the inability to negotiate their classroom sizes. This would naturally result in “ballooning classes” (Connery). From personal experience, the larger the class size is, the more difficult it becomes to receive individual instruction from a teacher when struggling with a particular concept being taught. Reducing class size is also one of the few educational strategies shown to increase learning and narrow the achievement gap between ethnic and racial groups. This also could produce more stress for teachers. They would have to try and control a larger amount of adolescences while simultaneously trying to convey complex concepts to a wide range of children with completely different learning styles. Also, they would have a much higher work load in relevance to grading assignments. This could propel teachers to give fewer assignments or simply make the assignments assigned much simpler and less in depth.
Senate Bill 5 would result in a great amount of negative outcomes for the public. It would raise a much unneeded unemployment rate and cut the salaries of those who already work for much less than they deserve. Collective bargaining would be completely eliminated which was the best resource public employees possessed to obtain more fairness in the workplace. The positives don’t seem to outweigh the negatives which conclusively would point to the fact the Senate Bill 5 is not truly what Ohio needs.
Picture from dailykos.com
Print Works Cited
Connery, Michael. "Ohio Workers, Services Under Fire." 26.2 (2011): 12. . EBSCO. Web. 16 October 2011.
Hanauer, Amy. "Ohio: A New Kind of Battleground." 292.22 (2011): 20-22. . EBSCO. Web. 26 Oct. 2011.