May ’13 Cleveland Citizen

Brothers and sisters:

The National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP) is happy to announce they are now offering an OSHA 10 class to IUEC members through their website, neiep.org.  OSHA 10 is the ten-hour course that many construction sites require in order to be able to work onsite.  It covers the history of OSHA and basic safety procedures every elevator constructor must know.  The course requires little or no computer experience and can be self-paced.  There is a refundable fee of $72 to enroll.  For more information on this and other opportunities for advanced education, go to the NEIEP website.

There is a sign-up sheet for the welding class offered in conjunction with Lincoln Electric at their world headquarters on Euclid.  This is a 40-hour class that leads to G3 and G4 certification.  If you have any questions contact Business Agent Tim Moennich at 216-431-8088 or email him at TMoennich@iueclocal17.org.

There is still time to get in on the IUEC Local 17 Golf Outing.  The two-man scramble will be held June 1st at Mallard Creek Golf Course, 34500 Royalton Road, Columbia Station.  The festivities kick off at 9:00 AM and feature a full day of golf, food and prizes.  The cost is $100 for the day.  Please get your name into Entertainment Chairman Mike Hogan or Business Agent Tim Moennich.

Lessons Learned

Congratulations to the Strongsville Education Association on ending their eight-week long strike against the Board of Education with their first contract in two years.  While many looking in from the outside might see spoiled public servants attempting to grab as much as they can at the expense of the students they say they care so much about, the issues go so much deeper than that superficial statement.

Strongsville, like many school systems, requires that teachers advance their education over and above the basic bachelor’s degree and compensates them for the time and effort.  The belief is that teachers with advanced degrees bring more value to the classroom and give a more complete and better education to their students.  In other words, if the system is loaded with masters and PhDs, their pay scale is going to be closer to the top than if most of the teachers were holding masters and below.

Strongsville has consistently ranked high in their state evaluations and the community at large supports the good work the teachers do.  The most current report card put out by the state ranked the system 97th out of the 610 public systems in Ohio and gave it an Excellent with Distinction ranking.

Unfortunately for the school system they were hit with a double whammy as decreased state aid by Governor Kasich and a decrease in property values cut into their operating budget.  State aid to the system peaked in 2010 at $21.6 million after increasing from $16.4 million in 2007.  The system took a $700,000 hit in 2011 but bounced back in 2012 with a $2.1 million increase for a total of $22.9 million in state aid.  The local revenue received peaked in 2009 at $53.1 million but decreased to $48.1 million today which is $500,000 above the 2006 levels.  Federal aid to Strongsville is off by $2 million versus the 2010 numbers.  While this looks bleak, the system is still operating with a budget that is $6.5 million over their 2007 revenue.

There are many out there that will use this as a lever to revive SB5, the failed attempt to limit public-sector collective bargaining rights, but the broader issue is union busting by the GOP lead statehouse and turning Ohio into a “Right-To-Work –For Less” state.  As has been reported previously in these pages, there are groups gathering signatures to place a measure called the “Workplace Freedom Act” that would turn collective bargaining back to the pre-NLRB days.

It is ironic that two Republican legislators , Ron Maag of Lebanon and Kristina Roegner of Hudson, introduced sister bills to turn Ohio into a Right-To-Work-For-Less state on May 1st, or as our friends in the former Soviet Union refer to it, May Day.  A day set aside to honor the working man and woman.

As a Strongsville High School graduate of too long ago to count, I think about the lesson plans that a returning striking teacher would prepare for their first class in eight weeks.  I would spend the week talking about the history of labor relations, collective bargaining and why it is as important today as it was in 1935 when the National Labor Relations Act took effect.  Then I would talk about the collective bargaining process and why it is still the best model for management-labor relations and finally using strikes as a last measure.  A lesson plan like this would put the collective bargaining process in perspective and teach a real life lesson the kids will not soon forget.