Sunday, October 02, 2011

NEOCH Urges a No Vote on Issue 2

Homeless Support Collective Bargaining

The Board of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless decided last week to urge our membership to vote No on Issue 2 which would then overturn SB 5 passed in April by the state legislature.  Why does the Coalition want to get involved in a collective bargaining bill?  The mission of the Coalition is to empower and organize those experiencing homelessness.  The backbone of organizing is allowing homeless people to act  and speak collectively.  We construct resident council (similar to tenant unions) to allow those living in shelters to speak collectively with management of the shelter.  If collective bargaining disappears for public employees it is a slippery slope before collective bargaining would disappear as a value in our society.  We strongly support collective bargaining as a means to solve problems with our Homeless Congress as an example and we appreciate collective bargaining in the employment sector.

We believe that a healthy work force especially in the public sector keeps people from becoming homeless.  It is not an accident that only 1% of the homeless population are age 65 or older.  It is because we have social security and the pension programs that employees bargained for to keep them safe in their retirement years.  SB 5 would eliminate government contributions to public sector pensions, and thus destabilize future seniors increasing the number who become homeless.  There may be some valuable items in SB 5, but taken as a whole it would harm public sector employees and strike a blow to collective bargaining in Ohio.  It is for this reason, NEOCH urges a no vote on Issue 2.

It is legal for non-profit organizations to take positions on issues in the United States especially if they have such an impact on our constituents.   We believe that collective bargaining needs to be expanded and not limited in Ohio.  The board of the Coalition believes that fewer people would become homeless if all workplaces were organized.  Our constituents would not face daily exploitation if the temporary labor companies were organized and homeless workers belonged to a labor union.  We could significantly reduce the number of homeless people if these men and women were paid a fair wage for a fair days work.  If anything, we should expand collective bargaining and not limit it in Ohio.

Please vote No on Issue 2 in order to repeal Senate Bill 5 the anti-collective bargaining law.

Brian Davis
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