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Dear Editor:
Because Senate Bill 5 would restrict collective-bargaining rights of public employees, the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association is opposing it as an attack on unions and the middle class. The association had better hope that private-sector unions and the middle class don’t view this fall’s referendum on the bill as payback time for the association’s refusal to support them.

The association has been willing to oppose unions to save its own dollars. The media reported in 2000 that in constructing a $4 million headquarters near Columbus that year, the association chose nonunion companies to install the brickwork, roofing, and heating and air-conditioning.

At the time, the association explained that better prices were obtained by using nonunion instead of union companies. A spokesperson also said, “We’re just not willing to go union at all costs.” And the association didn’t bother to ask union companies to lower their prices for work that was ultimately awarded to nonunion companies.

Labor leaders responded with outrage, and a field representative for Bricklayers Local 55 said, “Whenever they come to us and ask for support, it will be denied to them – just flat out.”

To have credibility on issues such as Senate Bill 5, the association needs to support unions and the middle class at times other than when its own income and power are at stake. By refusing to do so, it appears selfish, greedy and hypocritical.

Joseph C. Sommer
Columbus, OH


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