Saturday, February 26, 2011

Charlene Hayden: A message for all educators, active and retired

Charlene Hayden to John Curry, February 26, 2011
Subject: Re: ***CORE ALERT II*** Senate Bill 5...and a correction..........
Dear Mr. Curry,
I have been reading your "Alerts" and I am very appreciative of all you do for the retired teachers of Ohio. Thanks for the time you give for us.
I wanted to say that I was at the protest of Senate Bill 5 last Tuesday. Many educators, police officers, firefighters, and union workers and supporters from throughout the State were on both sides of the State House. It was an impressive site and comforting to know that we have so many people who cannot support this bill which is such a slam to people who are in occupations that serve the public.
In your most recent alert, you gave C.O.R.E's position on our retirement system. Even though Senate Bill 5, if passed, will affect our retirement system, it is more directly about doing away with the collective bargaining rights of public employees and teachers. According to the Republican leaders sponsoring this legislation, it is supposed to be a cost saving measure for the State budget. Since this type of legislation is being proposed in several other states which have Republican leadership, it appears this is more about an initiative to take away the rights of people who belong to unions. We know that the unions have supported mainly Democratic candidates in past elections.
It would be my suggestion that you send a message to our retired teachers asking them to take some type of action to defeat this bill. If they can go to the State House, that would be great. However, that is a difficult task for those of us who are getting up in years. Those who can't make it to the State House could write and/or call their congressmen and senators. The social networks can also be used to spread the word about our feelings on Senate Bill 5.
The bills that are directly related to our retirement funds and the other Ohio pension systems are H.B. 69 and S.B. 3. These are considered "placeholder" bills which means we should expect more changes to be introduced in substitute bills down the road. Since these are "placeholder" bills, it makes it even more imperative for all active and retired teachers to be vigilant of the changes that will likely be proposed.
Thanks, again, Mr. Curry for all you efforts.
Charlene Hayden,
Buckeye Lake


NE Ohio teachers rally at Cuyahoga Falls High School in opposition to SB 5

Hundreds rally against S.B. 5 in Falls
February 25, 2011
By ELLIN WALSH | Falls News Press
Click image to enlarge.
“Kill the bill,” chanted nearly a thousand people who attended a rally Thursday in protest of Senate Bill 5 in the auditorium at Cuyahoga Falls High School.
The rally, sponsored by Ohio Education Association affiliates, drew young and old alike, including Jenny Hoholski, a new teacher in Stow, and Sue Bell, a veteran teacher in Cuyahoga Falls.
“I’m a very scared first-year teacher trying to put one more voice out there,” Hoholski said.
“I’m really close to retirement and this bill would do me in,” Bell said. “It may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”
While proponents of S.B. 5, including Gov. John Kasich, maintain it would provide badly needed tools for the state, counties, cities and school districts to reduce their costs, provide more fairness to taxpayers and create a jobs-friendly climate in Ohio, opponents protest the elimination of collective bargaining rights for state workers.
“Union schools mean higher test scores,” read one of the handmade posters waving above the crowd at the auditorium. “Stop King Kasich” read another. “Senate Bill 5 means death to the middle class,” was another popular sentiment on signs peppering the audience.
Speakers included OEA President Patricia Frost-Brooks; U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton; State Sen.Tom Sawyer; State Rep. Kathleen Clyde of Kent; Tracy Laux, president of the Kent State University chapter of the American Association of University Professors; and North Eastern OEA President Rebecca L. Higgins, a teacher in the Copley-Fairlawn City Schools.
Higgins drew roars of approval when she addressed the governor, saying, “You woke a sleeping giant and we will not be moved.”
Clyde said she is “totally opposed” to Senate Bill 5 as drafted, calling it “ A concerted effort by those with money and power to bring all American workers down.” She described the measure as the latest in a series of movements to “dis-empower American workers.”
Sutton said she would do her best to see that “this backward thinking attack on Ohio’s public employees doesn’t prevail.” She suggested the fight against Senate Bill 5 has become a fight about whether the middle class will prevail.
“In challenging economic times like this ... we all understand that we have a role to play, but this is a power grab to destroy collective bargaining and to silence and dis-empower our workers and it shall not stand because we will stand together against it,” Sutton said.
Surveying the crowd, Frost-Brooks inquired when the middle class had became “public enemy No. 1?”
“They cannot balance this budget — $8 billion — on our backs,” Frost-Brooks said, adding, “...We have done our fair share and they are not going to silence our voice.”
Becky Miller, a teacher for Tallmadge City Schools, said she attended the rally to voice opposition to the bill and to show her support for fellow union workers.
“I think that educator conditions affect teaching conditions,” Miller said, “and if collective bargaining gets taken away, that would be detrimental to all of us.”

Debbie Rudy-Lack reports on anti-SB 5 rally in Cuyahoga Falls

From Debbie Rudy-Lack, February 26, 2011
On Thursday, February 24, NEOEA sponsored a rally at Cuyahoga Falls High School. Featured speakers were: Becky Higgins, President of NEOEA, Congresswoman Betty Sutton (D-13), Senator Tom Sawyer ( D-28th), Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-68th), Patricia Foster-Brooks, President of OEA, former Akron Teacher's Union President, Bill Siegfirth, President of the AAUP, Kent State Chapter, President of the Fireman's Union and the President of the AFL-CIO.
The rally was well attended. Some of the schools in attendance were: Copley-Fairlawn, Akron City Schools, Brunswick City Schools, Cuyahoga Falls City Schools, Brecksville-Broadview Hts City Schools...I'm sure there were more schools represented, but these are the names I saw during the course of the rally. Local firemen and policemen were also in attendance.
Photos by Debbie posted below.

Photos from Cuyahoga Falls anti-SB 5 rally 2/24/11


Friday, February 25, 2011

RH Jones comments on Fw: And so.....they fired ALL the teachers..... all 1,926 of them!

From RH Jones to John Curry, February 25, 2011
John and all:
They want to kill tenure in SB 5 also. And, John, I worked under several incompetent principals and administrators who were put in positions of authority for political, ethnic, personality, and religious reasons. I also worked for some good ones, but they were few and far between.
We cannot have tenure done away with. Professional teachers with a few years of service, if fired, have a difficult time getting hired because they are simply too expensive.
Most budget minded public school district board members are unfortunately more interested in saving money than giving their youngsters a quality education taught by highly qualified professional educators. This includes superintendents and administrators.
The incompetents are so few anyway. It has been my experience that the students will react so poorly under incompetents that they force the teacher out. My first job was due to a vacancy open because the students drove her out.
Please, everyone, leave tenure "on the books". It also provides the professional teacher with the freedom to teach unimpeded by political party domination or a board member who has a grudge against a teacher for giving a failing grade to a student who may deserve it.
Please read below.
RHJones, retired teacher
Subject: And so.....they fired ALL the teachers..... all 1,926 of them!
Educators...the following from the article below ought to "scare the hell" out of you. THIS could also happen to YOU in Ohio if SB 5, John Kasich and Shannon Jones GET THEIR WAY!
"Teachers begged the School Board to issue layoffs rather than fire them outright because, under the layoff provisions, teachers are recalled based on seniority. There is no guarantee that seniority would be used to bring back any of the fired teachers. School leaders have been vague about exactly how seniority will play out in the case of terminations." [imagine that! - John]
Board votes to dismiss all Providence teachers
Friday, February 25, 2011
By Linda Borg
Journal staff writer
PROVIDENCE [RI] — After two hours of contentious discussion, the School Board voted 4 to 3 Thursday night to send out termination notices to each of the city’s 1,926 public school teachers.
More than 700 teachers jammed a high school gymnasium to tell school officials that their hearts were broken, their trust violated and their futures as teachers jeopardized.
“How do we feel? Disrespected,” said Julie Latessa, a special-needs teacher, before the vote. “We are broken. How do you repair the damage you have done today?”
Every teacher received a certified letter from the School Department on Thursday informing them that they might be terminated at the end of the school year. It also said the School Board would vote on the proposed dismissals at Thursday night’s meeting, which was moved to the Providence Career and Technical Academy to accommodate the huge turnout.
Many of the teachers were caught off guard by Mayor Angel Taveras’ decision to terminate teachers instead of laying them off. Last night, speakers questioned the mayor’s rationale: a $40-million school budget deficit and a March 1 deadline by which the School Department must notify teachers if their jobs are in jeopardy.
“This is a quasi-legal power grab,” said Richard Larkin, a teacher at Classical High School. “You want to pick and choose teachers. Well, we will not be bullied.”
More than 700 teachers turned out for the School Board’s meeting Thursday night at the Providence Career & Technical Academy, at which the board voted to terminate them at the end of the school year. The Providence Journal / Ruben W. Perez
Speaker after speaker demanded to know why they were being fired. Didn’t the teachers union sign on to the federal Race to the Top initiative? Hasn’t the union collaborated with Supt. Tom Brady on new curricula? Isn’t the union working with the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers on a new teacher evaluation?
“I’m feeling disrespected, devalued and marginalized,” said Ed Gorden. “Termination is a career-ender. You are putting a scarlet letter on every one of us.”
Teachers begged the School Board to issue layoffs rather than fire them outright because, under the layoff provisions, teachers are recalled based on seniority. There is no guarantee that seniority would be used to bring back any of the fired teachers. School leaders have been vague about exactly how seniority will play out in the case of terminations.
Before the vote, several School Board members explained their reasons for supporting or rejecting the motion to dismiss:
Philip Gould said he believes that Providence Teachers Union President Steve Smith is committed to serious and meaningful school reform, adding that if “we do this, it will be detrimental to the children of this district.”
Nina Pande said the board is faced with an extremely difficult decision and that the board was given only three days to close a $40-million deficit.
Melissa Malone, Kathleen Crain, Pande and Julian Dash voted for the motion to dismiss; Robert Wise, Brian Lalli and Gould voted against it.
Earlier Thursday, Smith called the terminations “an attack on labor and an attack on collective bargaining.”
“This is a back-door Wisconsin,” Smith said, referring to the weeklong protests in Madison by labor unions. “We don’t know why we’re being fired. The mayor says he needs flexibility. Can you buy that? I don’t know of any other district that has done this.”
Thursday night, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, called the possible dismissals “shocking,” and said the move will “disrupt the education of all students and the entire community.”
Superintendent Brady has said that the majority of teachers will be rehired but could not give any details until the mayor’s special panel completes its report on the city’s financial status.
Teachers who attended a meeting with Brady on Thursday afternoon left as dismayed and confused as they were when they entered the building. Many said they still didn’t understand why they were being dismissed.
“Everyone is anxious,” said Eileen Finklestein, an elementary school teacher. “We hope the School Board will make a rational decision.”
-- with reports from Richard C. Dujardin, Journal staff writer
HOW THEY VOTED: Yes: Melissa Malone, Kathleen Crain, Niña Pande, Julian Dash
No: Robert Wise, Brian Lalli, Philip Gould

Another week ahead in Columbus....

John's friends will be there, won't they?
(Click image to enlarge.)

From John Curry

You should too.....or.....SHOULD YOU?

From John Curry

Ann....haven't heard anything from you as of yet and am including CORE's stand on SB 5 since ORTA apparently isn't taking a stand....

From John Curry, February 25, 2011
Ann...since you didn't reply to my letter [of 2/21/11] I will include CORE's stand on SB 5 (below the earlier letter immediately below). CORE dues payers expect their organization to take stands on issues that will affect retirees and/or active educators and CORE 'bout ORTA?

CORE's position on Senate Bill 5

From Dave Parshall, February 25, 2011
CORE does not and will not support any part of SB 5 as written. We urge all actives, retirees, and their supporters to get personally involved and write to their Senators and Representative and urge them to pull the bill. Tell them this could be a career vote for them. Educators have long memories.

CORE's position on STRS pension reform

1 CORE (Concerned Ohio Retired Educators) is opposed to the reduction of COLA from 3% to 2%. It is called a "cost of living allowance", but in reality it is not. It is not compounded and is based on the Final Average Salary. Thus, those who have large pensions get a much larger annual increase than those, mainly older retirees, with pensions below $40,000 and $30,000. For those with lower pensions, the 1% reduction is a much bigger hit. A new formula that accounts for fairness and the actual cost of living which is the same for all retirees needs to be created. All states that have reduced the COLA of retirees are now in litigation for breaking a legal contract with retirees. We hope this can be avoided in Ohio.
2. CORE has always been opposed to the 88% enhanced pension enacted by a former board, several members of which were convicted of ethics violations. CORE filed the initial complaint with the Ohio Ethics Commission that led to the convictions. This unearned enhancement has and will cost STRS money far into the future even if it were stopped today. It went into effect overnight and does not need to be grandfathered beyond 2012.
3. Considering that the current average STRS retirement age is now 59, it makes little sense to grandfather the change to age 60 much beyond 2015.
4. All STRS cuts to date have been directed at retirees. Those who have to insure their spouses with the STRS health care plan have taken a $13,000 annual hit to their already low pension. There are nearly 10,000 career teachers who do not qualify for Medicare Part A because they were never allowed to pay into it. As it stands now, STRS will be unable to offer a healthcare plan beyond 2024 or possibly sooner. Thus, thousands of retired teachers in their later years will become wards of the state. Clearly health care is the next looming issue.
5. CORE is opposed to the practice of "double dipping" and believes that there should be only one retirement. It is hard to believe that this is cost neutral to STRS because once the rehired educator finally retires from education, the money the "rehire" pays into STRS is refunded to them and is lost to STRS forever. But even if it costs STRS only one dollar, the practice is "gaming the system" and needs to stop to avoid the appearance of greed in the eyes of the general public. Double dipping is mainly being done by administrators whose salaries over the decades have risen at a greater rate than classroom teachers' salaries.
Also the "pickup" practice of school boards paying for all of administrators' STRS contributions should be ended. This will save school boards money in the face of looming budget cuts. This will also help ward off some teacher layoffs and increases to class size that lead to low test scores.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Here's a state spending practice that the Teabaggers ought to really revolt against...but.....

.....they won't touch it with a 10-foot pole, will they? How 'bout THIS part time job?
In Ohio, teachers salaries start at $33,671 and teacher salaries average $50,314
Firefighter salaries average $42,000 when jobs are available.
And Police salaries average $47,000 across the state.
Taxpayers Revolt! Kasich Hands Out $60,000 Per Year To Casino Commissioners For Part Time Work
By Dave on February 24, 2011
On one hand John Kasich keeps saying that Senate Bill 5 is about balancing Ohio's budget deficit while with the other he hands out huge salaries to his staff of insiders and cronies. Yesterday he announced that Ohio Casino Commissioners will receive $60,000 per year for part time work.
Gov. John Kasich yesterday selected four Republicans, two Democrats and an independent to the Casino Control Commission, which is getting a late start after the GOP-controlled Senate rejected former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland's nominees to the commission in December.
Commission members, who will earn $60,000 a year for part-time work, must act fast to hire a staff and draft rules governing the operations of casinos in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo.
In Ohio, teachers salaries start at $33,671 and teacher salaries average $50,314
Firefighter salaries average $42,000 when jobs are available.
And Police salaries average $47,000 across the state.
How can SB 5 be about the budget when Gov. Kasich keeps handing out money on anything he touches like he's printing it in the Statehouse basement and a top assistant for Gov. John Kasich makes triple what firefighters are paid?

Rally to be held in Cincinnati February 28

: Monday Feb. 28th 2011 - 4-6 p.m.
WHERE: Intersection of Montgomery Rd. and Norwood Ave. Cincinnati
Please join us for a Rally to Protect Our Heroes! We will meet rain or shine at 4-6 p.m. Bring your friend, family, members, rain gear, and bring signs - let's let Cincinnati and our elected leaders know we Oppose SB 5!
Tell them to STOP attacking hard-working Police, Firefighters, Nurses, Teachers and other Public Employees.
If you have questions, please email Katie Boerger at or call Cris Nedrow at 614-284-2357

What S.B. 5 looks like now.....
Senate Bill 5 is dead; long live Senate Bill 5
The Senate Republicans decided to put a little lipstick on the pig that is SB 5
by ModernEsquire on February 23, 2011
This afternoon Senate President Tom Niehaus (R-New Richmond) and Senate Insurance, Labor and Commerce Chair Kevin Bacon (R-Footloose) announced the GOP’s “revisions” to Senate Bill 5.
First, the good news. The new SB 5 does not eliminate the right of State employees to collectively bargain.
This makes Senate Bill 5 take a radical departure from the bill in Wisconsin on a major issue.
However, the right to collectively bargain at both the State and local level will only be on wages only. No right to bargain regarding health benefits, leave policies (ironically including the Republican favored “flex time” policies) workplace conditions, or any other benefits.
Furthermore, under the new SB 5, all public employee union members are barred from striking. Niehaus said that disputes will no longer be resolved by binding arbitration, but they admit they are still trying to figure out how exactly such disputes can be resolved without binding arbitration. They also haven’t figured out the penalty for public employees who strike illegally. So it literally could be anything from allowing replacement workers as SB 5 originally provided or docking pay at twice the daily wages as Senator Grendell has suggested.
The press gaggle was called after Niehaus, Bacon, and SB 5’s sponsor Senate Majority Whip Shannon Jones (R-Springboro) met privately to discuss the bill. For some reason, Jones, though, did not appear or participate in the press gaggle. Also noticeably absent was any talk of “merit pay.” I am assuming, but we will have to wait and see the language, that step increases are acceptable terms since they would appear to be a wage issue.
Another note from the press gaggle we received seemed to indicate a comment was made that for non-state public unions the only change would be the bar on the right to strike. Given that public safety union workers like the police and firefighters already cannot strike under existing law, this seems to affect only teachers.
Bacon and Niehaus were asked, but flatly denied, that these changes were made to win votes within their caucus. They claimed that they were listening to and responding to the testimony. Apparently they should use their taxpayer provided health insurance and get their hearing checked…
The Toledo Blade (“Ohio Senate Republicans retreat on collective bargaining”) is reporting that Niehaus specifically said that only State workers would be unable to resolve labor disputes by binding arbitration.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the bill is being amended to accommodate the wishes of Governor Kasich (Mr. 30% Approval Rating):
Niehaus acknowledged that the changes were to accommodate the wishes of Republican Gov. John Kasich, who has on several occasions declared that any public employee who goes on strike should be fired.
"I think our changes to the bill reflect what he’s said publicly," said Niehaus.
So that would seem to indicate that “hiring replacement workers” (“scabs”) is still going to be the bill’s remedy to any public union worker who strikes.
Bacon also seemed to hold out the possibility of carving out the entire public safety unions entirely from SB 5.
Ohio Democrats, who only learned of the changes via the media, were not impressed, according to the Plain Dealer:
"To me, it seems like window dressing," Senate Minority Leader Capri Cafaro, a Democrat from the Youngstown area, said. "At this point, I’m less than impressed with what’s offered."
Cafaro said Senate Democrats were not involved in negotiations that led to the changes. She said the process should be more transparent and collaborative.
"I have no idea what stakeholders they’ve engaged in this," she said.
We’re awaiting further official reaction from the unions and anyone else on this. Frankly, I’m not entirely sure if these changes are going to win them the votes they need.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Special STRS Board meeting called for March 2-3, 2011

Details here

Special STRS Board meeting called for March 2-3

From STRS, February 23, 2011
March 2 and 3, 2011
A special meeting of the State Teachers Retirement Board will be held on Wed., March 2, and Thurs., March 3, 2011. The meeting will be held at the STRS Ohio offices in Columbus, Ohio. The business agenda will begin at 9 a.m. on both days. The primary purpose of the meeting is a general educational program focusing on investments and financial matters with the Retirement Board's independent investment advisors (Callan Associates and Cliffwater). The Board will also discuss its self-evaluation and any other matters that may require attention.

Dispatch coverage of Statehouse demonstrations re: S.B. 5

Hint of progress amid the protests over
Senate Bill 5

5,200 opponents make loud show at the Capitol
Columbus Dispatch, February 23, 2011
By Jim Siegel and Joe Hallett
A key Senate Republican said at least one public union has shown a willingness to go beyond the "kill the bill" chants heard repeatedly from the estimated 5,200 protesters who swarmed the Statehouse yesterday to fight an overhaul of Ohio's collective-bargaining law.
"They are remaining pragmatic and so are we," Sen. Kevin Bacon, R-Minerva Park, said yesterday after a meeting with the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio. "We have some things that maybe we can come together on."
Jay McDonald, president of the union, said his organization can agree with parts of the bill, such as more transparency in the bargaining process. But he said eliminating binding arbitration - a provision Bacon says is key to the bill - goes way too far, giving police and firefighters no power to negotiate.
"There might be other ways to achieve the same result," McDonald said. "There has to be finality that my members have an equitable stake in."
As for his willingness to engage in talks, he said, "I'd love for them to say this is going to go away, but it's not."
McDonald and firefighters yesterday also urged Republicans to take more time on such a major change in Ohio law. "We came to slow it down and see if we can come to a consensus on this thing," said Jack Reall, head of the Columbus firefighters' union.
Bacon, the chairman of the Senate Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee, said the process is "a lot more fluid than people think." As for complaints about the speed of action, he said, "People are so used to government moving at a snail's pace, maybe this is a rush to them."
The State Highway Patrol limited access to the Statehouse yesterday as thousands of protesters stood outside in the cold and snow, many angry they could not get inside to register their opposition.
Saying it was concerned for the safety of the hundreds already gathered in the Statehouse, the patrol locked outside doors, leaving throngs of protesters on the east side along 3rd Street chanting and cheering so loudly that they could be heard across Downtown as newscasters from across Ohio and CNN captured the scene.
"My taxes pay for this and I should be allowed in," said Diane Twarog, a representative for the Service Employees International Union who made the trip from St. Clairsville in Belmont County.
As a Democratic lawsuit was threatened to open the doors, the party's lawmakers finally were successful in getting about 500 more protesters to join the roughly 700 in the atrium. About 900 others were allowed to sit in the Capitol Theatre in the Riffe Center, across High Street from the Statehouse. Audio from the hearing was piped in both locales.
With a fourth hearing on the bill scheduled in the afternoon, busloads of union sympathizers came from across the state, many carrying placards and chanting "No bill" at the top of their lungs. Music also filled the air, thanks to a bagpipe and drums corps from one of the state's safety unions.
The Ohio bill, and the protests it has drawn, mirrors the scenario in Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker and his GOP-legislative majorities are stymied because Democratic lawmakers are away from the Statehouse in hiding.
Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern said that if Gov. John Kasich and GOP legislators push through Senate Bill 5, a ballot challenge almost certainly will follow. The bill would have to be signed by the first week of April to avoid having that challenge decided in the November 2012 presidential election.
A national USA Today/Gallup Poll released yesterday said that 61 percent of respondents oppose a law reducing collective-bargaining power of public workers. In Ohio, a Quinnipiac University poll in January found 51 percent opposed reducing collective-bargaining rights for public workers, compared with 34 percent in support.
Supporters say the bill, sponsored by state Sen. Shannon Jones, R-Springboro, would slow the unsustainable rise in personnel costs and give government managers more flexibility to deal with looming budget cuts. Union members see it differently.
"I believe Gov. Kasich decided he wants to squash unions and found a creative way to do it, but he has to realize that we've fought this battle before, and he will not stop us because we will fight to the very end," said JoAnn Johntony, president of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees.
Neither Bacon nor Jones hinted when the bill would pass. Bacon generally supports the bill, and with the civil-service protections that would remain, "The post-Senate Bill 5 doom-and-gloom nuclear scenario just isn't true."
The Dispatch has talked to eight GOP senators who either would not express support for the bill, or have stated varying degrees of discomfort with it.
"You need to have some form of collective bargaining to actually expedite management's ability to deal with the work force and save taxpayers money," said Sen. Timothy J. Grendell, R-Chesterland.
Inside the committee hearing, Dewey Stokes, a retired police officer and former Franklin County commissioner who served nationally with the FOP, told lawmakers that collective bargaining creates a level playing field to negotiate wages and other issues.
"If you take away binding arbitration, you stand to be accountable for strikes by safety forces," he said.
Former GOP state Sen. Bruce Johnson, president of the Inter-University Council of Ohio, argued that collective bargaining places very little value on efficiency and productivity. He said the University of Toledo, for example, estimates it spends $8 million extra in labor costs because of ineffective employees.
"If people knew about all of the processes that go on relative to Ohio's public sector collective-bargaining law, they would be offended by the time, energy and talent that is underutilized," Johnson said.

Columbus Dispatch, 2/23/11

Columbus Dispatch, 2/23/11


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Statehouse anti-SB 5 rally, Columbus 2/22/11

Statehouse anti-SB 5 rally, Columbus 2/22/11

Statehouse anti-SB 5 rally, Columbus 2/22/11

Statehouse anti-SB 5 rally, Columbus 2/22/11

Statehouse anti-SB 5 rally, Columbus 2/22/11

Canton rally at Kasich event 2/22/11

Canton rally 2/22/11 at Kasich event - Tom Curtis in bottom picture

Special STRS Board meeting scheduled for March 1-2, 2012
Details here.

Special STRS Board meeting March 1 & 2, 2012: an educational program to focus on investments and financial matters

From STRS, February 22, 2012
March 1 and 2, 2012
A special meeting of the State Teachers Retirement Board will be held on Thurs., March 1, and Fri., March 2, 2012. The meeting will be held at the STRS Ohio offices in Columbus, Ohio. The business agenda will begin at 9 a.m. on both days. The primary purpose of the meeting is a general educational program focusing on investments and financial matters with the Retirement Board's independent investment advisors (Callan Associates and Cliffwater). The Board will also discuss long-term fiduciary and financial contingency planning and any other matters that may require attention.

OEA, how 'bout the lack of flexibility retirees had when spousal subsidies were taken away overnight after retirees' careers had ALREADY ended?

From John Curry, February 22, 2011
And the OEA said, "We believe that the cuts are too deep and do not offer sufficient flexibility to teachers who are nearing the end of their careers."
Teachers unions oppose boosting retirement share
February 21, 2011
By Darrel Rowland
The Columbus Dispatch
With all the furor over collective bargaining, proposals to revamp Ohio public employees' pension plans almost have gotten lost.
Legislative hearings continue this week, but no action is expected until spring at least.
Both the Ohio Education Association and Ohio Federation of Teachers oppose a proposal that would force teachers to pay more into their retirement fund. The educators' share would go from 10 percent to 13 percent under a measure approved late last month by the State Teachers Retirement System.
The teachers federation newsletter for this month said that while the union "understands and supports the need for changes that will stabilize the pension fund for the long term, we are greatly concerned that there be a balanced approach to any solution. We do not believe the new STRS board plan accomplishes that."
And the OEA said, "We believe that the cuts are too deep and do not offer sufficient flexibility to teachers who are nearing the end of their careers."
The OEA still favors a plan from last fall that would have increased the government employers' (taxpayers') share to 16.5 percent from the current 14 percent.
Note from John....readers, if you click on the link at the beginning of this article and go to the actual Dispatch article, you can read the reader comments and even add comments of your own.

Monday, February 21, 2011

NEOEA tells its members what they can do to save collective bargaining in Ohio; you can do it, too

Ten Things You Can Do to Save Collective Bargaining for Ohio Public Employees
Public employee collective bargaining rights are under attack in Ohio as never before. Here are ten things you can do to help preserve these rights:
1) Leave a message for your Senator by calling the OEA Educator Connector at (888) 907-7309. (You'll be asked for your ZIP code and connected with your Senator's office. Be ready to tell your Senator why collective bargaining for public employees is important to you.)
2) Attend an event:
• Monday, February 21, 4:30 PM: attend the public forum on Senate Bill 5 at the Chestnut Room of Youngstown State University's Kilcawley Center (online at
• Tuesday, February 22, 1:00 PM: attend the rally in Columbus (information online at
• For one of the AFL-CIO buses departing from downtown Cleveland starting at 10:00, call the North Shore AFL-CIO at (216) 881-7200 or email Andrea Miller ( to reserve a space.
• To reserve a space on the NEOEA bus picking up passengers at the NEOEA office (directions here) at 1:00 or at the Lodi Station Outlets (directions here) at 2:00, email Linda Grunden at For more information, call NEOEA at (216) 518-0200.
• Thursday, February 24, 4:30 PM: attend the rally at Cuyahoga Falls High School. In cooperation with OEA Region 3 staff, NEOEA is sponsoring a rally at Cuyahoga Falls High School, 2300 Fourth Street, Cuyahoga Falls 44221, at 4:30-5:30 PM on Thursday, February 24. The legislative districts affected by this event are Senate Districts 27 and 28, which include House Districts 41-45 and 68. Union members and supporters of collective bargaining rights for public employees are urged to attend and wear shirts, etc., bearing the names, slogans, and insignia of their organizations. For further information call OEA's Hudson office at (800) 654-4034.
3) Call Governor Kasich's office at (614) 466-3555 and state your opinion of Senate Bill 5.
4) Write a letter to the editor of a newspaper near you.
5) Write an email to your Senator. (List of email addresses online at
6) Write an email to the members of the Insurance, Banking, and Commerce Committee. (List of members online at
7) Attend session 10D, “The 129th General Assembly: Legislative Proposals and Challenges,” at NEOEA’s February 26 Megaconference (registration information online at
8) Mark your calendar for the March 2 OEA Lobby Day.
9) Check with your local president to make sure that your local is represented at NEOEA’s March 7 Legislative Dinner.
10) Mark your calendar for the March 15 5:00 PM rally at a northeastern Ohio location to be announced.
North Eastern Ohio Education Association
5422 East 96th Street, Suite 200
Garfield Heights, Ohio 44125-5330
216/518-0200, 800/354-6794
fax: 216/518-0202,

Ann....just a quick question

John Curry to Ann Hanning, February 21, 2011
Has ORTA taken a stand on Senate Bill 5 as of yet? If so, would you please relate what that stand is. If you don't reply I will take it as meaning your organization has yet to take a stand.
Thank you.
John Curry

I smell Bacon frying....he wouldn't do this, would he?

Oh, yes he would! For those of us in the Columbus area....our Senator just slapped us in the face.....once again!
Chairman Bacon limiting witness testimony for SB5 hearing
by Joseph on February 21, 2011
Tomorrow Senate Bill 5 is going to get an additional committee hearing. Unfortunately testimony will be limited to people who signed up before last Thursday.
While this technically isn’t against the rules, the decision does seem irresponsible on the part of the Chairman. Given the importance of this bill, the massive impact it would have on Ohio’s middle class workers, the level of debate it is receiving in the press and the huge demonstrations against it – you would think the committee would attempt to get as much input as possible before voting on it.
It comes across as an attempt on the part of the Republican leadership to stifle testimony for a bill they are already having a hard time getting their own committee members to support.
Here’s the memo from Bacon:
TO: Members of the Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee
FROM: Senator Kevin Bacon, Chairman
DATE: February 18, 2011
RE: Meeting Dates and Agenda For Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
South Hearing Room
4:00 p.m.
SB 5 (Sen. Jones) Revisions to Collective Bargaining Law 4th Hearing
Opponent Testimony
Proponent Testimony
NOTE: Testimony will be limited to those individuals who had contacted the Chairman’s office prior to the Feb. 17th hearing. We request that an electronic copy of the testimony be provided to the Chairman’s office by noon on Monday, February 21, 2010.
In anticipation of another large turnout, we ask that the witnesses first report to the Grant Hearing Room (110) at 3:00 p.m.
cc: Senate Clerk, House Clerk, Press Room, Sgt-At-Arms, Interested parties, LSC Staff
".....they voted for Kasich, and now they're ticked off that he's doing what he promised to do. Uh, yeah, right."

Jim N. Reed to Senator Tim Schaffer: No on S.B. 5

From Jim N. Reed, February 21, 2011
Dear Senator Schaffer,
My name is Jim N. Reed and I am a life-long Fairfield County constituent.
I recently concluded 45 years of public service as a teacher and coach with the Liberty Union-Thurston School District.
My father was a 40-year employee of Lancaster's Anchor Hocking Glass and served as a union steward for many years. At the dinner table I frequently heard about the vital protections afforded by union negotiations and collective bargaining. I remain extremely proud of my father's contributions to the laborers in the challenging environment of the "Furnace Room."
As a history teacher I have some foundation in the story of labor-management relations at the local, state and national levels. I cannot digest the rationale that would delete the protections derived from collective bargaining for middle class families.
I'm certain you are quite conscious of the imminent escalation of class warfare in our society. Even citizens who have not been inclined to enter the cultural, economic and political debate are being stirred to engage. Continuing government tax breaks for the most wealthy Americans while reducing or withdrawing services for our most indigent citizens are wearing out the patience and patriotism of many so adversely affected, especially when so many children are experiencing the shameless but guiltless stain of their poverty. As an educator I was an eyewitness to this for nearly half a century.
And now the middle class has become the javelin catcher for the state's financial crisis. On the backs of public servants the economy of Ohio is to be salvaged from the throes of a massive budget deficit?
As you are well aware, many economists dismiss the accusation from state leadership that public servants, union membership and collective bargaining are the accused catalyst of our economic morass.
Were you an educator what would you make of a governor's pre- and post-campaign statements promising to extract vengeance ("throw em under the bus") against those who disagreed with his education policy? Would you not suspect that anti-educator stance to be a harbinger of a potential assault on collective bargaining, one of the profession's most ubiquitous and valued forms of security for middle class families?
Since your web site includes images of your appearance with a Lancaster H.S. student-athlete, Pickerington Central students and a Pataskala elementary school I make the assumption you believe a quality education to be a critical contribution to society. I know that you have been very visible in the construction of facilities at Liberty Union-Thurston. And as a Mount Union Purple Raider it is obvious the role education has played in your personal and professional life.
I notice there are nine Ohio senators who are sitting on the fence and not absolutely certain that attacking collective bargaining full force is a ethical, moral or legal resolution to this knee-jerk approach to budget slicing. They appear to be, at the least, on the fence looking with some sense of fairness at both sides of the debate.
Senator Schaffer, I would ask you to reconsider your apparent position in support of Governor Kasich's ("...we need to break the back of organized labor in schools.") and at least join those fellow Republican legislators willing to reinvestigate the potential harm this bill would have on my profession and to the countless number of citizens it has served, is serving and will continue to serve.
Jim N. Reed
life-long educator
Baltimore, Ohio
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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