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Collective bargaining process works, says lawmaker
Written by State Representative Matt Szollosi, Assistant Minority Leader   
Thursday, 03 March 2011 14:53

By As the debate rages on in Ohio and Wisconsin regarding Republican proposals to eliminate collective bargaining for police, firefighters, teachers, and all other public sector workers, one has to ask: what is collective bargaining?

Public sector workers, although employed by the state, county, city or other public entity, are members of labor unions. Typically every three years, union officials, acting as the “exclusive bargaining representatives” of the membership, sit down with the employer at the bargaining table to negotiate a contract that governs the members’ terms and conditions of employment. The contract, or collective bargaining agreement, is the agreed-upon result of negotiations on issues such as employee wages, health insurance, retirement, work schedules and assignments, and layoff procedures, just to name a few. This process is known as “collective bargaining.”

In City League, is the glass half full or half empty?
Written by Dave Schmidt,   
Thursday, 06 January 2011 12:08

Over the past several years the Toledo Public Schools have suffered many financial setbacks and still find the system struggling to keep up with the economy. There are many urban schools who are facing issues much like the TPS schools around the country. The once proud Toledo City League is now facing a challenge that may be its biggest ever.

Last year the TPS system eliminated middle school, freshman, and some high school sports with low participation. That was a big blow to the remaining high school sports. The biggest blow is the imploding of the TCL when seven schools left to form a new conference, the Three Rivers Athletic Conference. That now leaves six TPS schools, after Libbey closed this past season, for next season to be in the TCL and they include — Bowsher, Rogers, Scott, Start, Waite, and Woodward. I will admit all of this does not look good and listening to the present Commissioner of the TCL he doesn’t see much hope for the future. He doesn’t seem to want to fix the problems either.

Education regulations overshadow science in Ohio
Written by Philip A. Geis, PhD   
Thursday, 16 December 2010 13:19

 Last summer, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) satisfied a statutory mandate that it deliver to the Ohio Board of Education pre-college school standards updated from  2002.  The 2010 standards for high school science, embodied as syllabi (outlines of the coursework main points), will provide instructional objectives for Ohio’s teachers and subject headings against which the State will test Ohio’s students on their way to a high school diploma.

The Ohio Academy of Science reviewed 2010’s standards for their science content. Finding significant omissions and weak content, the Academy submitted specific comments and proposed changes to ODE leadership well before the standards’ submission to the State Board.  Unfortunately, these comments went unheeded.  ODE is now developing curricula based on these flawed science standards ultimately leaving Ohio’s students with a considerable gap in science instruction.

Foreclosure fraud problem needs to be addressed
Written by Senator Sherrod Brown   
Thursday, 02 December 2010 16:13

We all know the devastation that foreclosures inflict on American communities, homeowners, and families.

Communities are left with vacant proprieties and a depressed tax base. Neighbors see their property value decline and their neighborhoods subjected to more crime. Families face uncertainty and lose the security of having a roof over their head. As a father, I can't imagine what it must be like to tell a child that she has to move out of her home and away from her school.

So when we learn that some banks are foreclosing first and asking questions later, it's no wonder why Ohioans - including me - are outraged.

That is why I'm calling for action on the assembly-line foreclosure process that rushes families out of their homes, and then leaves municipal governments to deal with the aftermath.

After a series of Ohio news reports documented banks and lending agencies foreclosing on homes only to abandon them - needlessly evicting families and leaving communities on the hook for bank-owned property - I requested an investigation by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office.  The report, unveiled this month, highlights the danger of so-called "bank walkways" - when banks and lending agencies have abandoned foreclosed homes rather than put them on the market. The report shows that, in the Cleveland area, banks have walked away from nearly 500 homes. The report found that half of bank walkaways are located in three Midwestern states, including Ohio.

Can we afford ‘cheap’ meat anymore?
Written by Dena Hoff   
Wednesday, 24 November 2010 13:06

Most Americans view cheap meat as a good thing, but they generally don't understand who pays the high cost of the policies making it inexpensive. More than 80 percent of the beef, pork and poultry consumed in this country comes from livestock fed and processed by only three meatpacking companies: JBS-Swift, Cargill and Tyson. Through deregulation and antitrust practices, these companies have been allowed to devour smaller companies that both feed and process meat.

The giant meatpackers often have contracts with owners of livestock feeding operations and therefore don't bid on the livestock they purchase to slaughter. Independent producers frequently aren't paid enough to pay for the cost of raising their livestock, so they're forced to sell or forfeit their farms and ranches.

Consequentially, local feed, seed, and farm machinery stores shut down because their customers can't pay their bills. Local restaurants, theaters, and furniture stores close when no one has spare funds. Ultimately, rural communities die when their local businesses fold and young people leave to find opportunities elsewhere.

Giant meatpackers and poultry companies hurt consumers, as well. Consumer choice has become more and more limited to meat from livestock raised on questionable feed sources and antibiotics in overcrowded conditions. Furthermore, cattle are slaughtered and processed in some facilities at the astounding rate of 1.5 million head per day.

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