MOUNT VERNON — It was a stand for solidarity when an estimated 200-plus area residents gathered at the Mount Vernon Public Square on Wednesday afternoon to voice their opposition to the proposed Senate Bill 5. A variety of speakers shared their displeasure with the bill which is currently being considered for passage in Senate proceedings.
“What we want to do today is draw attention to the Ohio voters to the facts of what is happening in Ohio with Senate Bill 5,” featured speaker Joe Rugola told the News prior to the ceremony. “It is nothing less than an assault on working families struggling to get by from those with their Wall Street values. We will not engage in a contest of who can work for the lowest rates.”
Rugola is the executive director of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees and vice president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
Before the ceremony began, those gathering on Public Square were already voicing their opinions about SB5.
“Collective bargaining is a good thing,” said Ron Yarman of Apple Valley, who has worked with the Department of Labor and has negotiated contracts at Cooper-Bessemer. “It’s unfortunate they are trying to kill it. More labor unrest is not a good thing for our country.”
Tim Risinger of Local 169 in Mansfield came to Mount Vernon to attend the ceremony. “It’s lousy,” said Risinger. “I can’t believe they want to take money from workers.”
Opening the vigil as master of ceremonies was Jeana Campolo, stating “It’s a great time to stand together and fight for the right of collective bargaining.” Campolo introduced Ted Dingler who told a story in the Bible where a beggar is living off of a rich man’s scraps. The man’s name was Lazarus, which means “God help you.” Dingler’s question to those in attendance was “What are we doing, indeed?”