Three charter buses bound for the statehouse in Columbus left from Marietta this morning.
There were fewer than five people aboard the Progress Ohio-sponsored bus that left from the Plumbers and Pipefitters union hall, headed for a Senate Bill 5 protest rally in the state's capital.
Among them was retired teacher and former OEA/NEA teachers union member Art Fordham, of Marietta.
ASHLEY HILL The Marietta Times
Marietta resident Debbie Lawson boards a bus near the union hall on Front Street in Marietta Tuesday morning. The bus was bound for the statehouse in Columbus, where a Senate Bill 5 protest rally is being held.
"I think it's important to show that many people will be hurt by this legislation, and my main concern is the teachers," he said. "It's going to hurt children in the long run because it's not going to create a more stable work environment for teachers - it's going to discourage, I think, many young people who are very talented (from going) into teaching,"
Senate Bill 5 would not allow unionized state employees to bargain for benefits, sick time, vacation or other conditions. Initially, it would not have allowed them to collectively bargain for their wages, either, but Republican state senators announced last week they planned to amend the bill to allow that.
The anti-SB5 rally was scheduled to coincide with a potential vote on the bill in the Ohio Senate today.
Marietta resident Debbie Lawson is not in a union but still felt it was important to travel to Columbus to voice her opinion on SB5.
"My dad was union growing up and my mother was union, so I probably would not have (been) afforded the life that I had growing up if I hadn't had that middle class upbringing," she said. "The fact that we keep giving huge tax breaks to giant corporations which are already making huge profits and then turning around and squeezing workers ... as if all of the working class people are the reason we have a budget problem and not the giant Wall Street meltdown."