Earlier this month, state Reps. Kristina Roegner, R-Hudson, and Ron Maag, R-Lebanon, initiated legislation to launch Ohio into the modern era by making Ohio a right-to-work state.
This long overdue effort to address Ohio’s economic stagnation has been met with hysteria from Big Labor. From letters to the editor by union bosses to television commercials, the unions are trying to derail this reform before it gains steam.
Labor’s panic is understandable. Earlier this year, Michigan, the home of the United Auto Workers, became a right-to-work state, the 24th in the nation.
This brought home to the union bosses just how tenuous their hold is on their positions and their membership. For if Michigan could quickly turn right-to-work, any state could.
Adding to labor’s anxiety is the fact that overall union membership nationally is a mere 11.3 percent of the work force. This is the lowest level since 1916.
And perhaps more telling, in the private sector, the percent of workers in unions stands at only 6.6.
Private-sector unions are in a free fall. And the bosses know, but won’t openly admit, that their membership would be even lower if workers had the freedom to not join a union or pay union dues.
Should workers have the right to organize? Absolutely. But they also should have the freedom not to be coerced into unions or in any way be forced to pay union dues.
Strong unions, privileged by law, are a legacy of Ohio’s past. But it is a legacy that has outlived its usefulness and is holding the state back economically. I think that Roegner and Maag should be applauded for their courage and willingness to confront such a powerful special interest group as Big Labor.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel says he’s got the recruits’ backs.
That’s fine, but for every recruit whose back he has, 10 people will have her assailant’s back.
That is the attitude that has to be changed.
Information to save lives
Once again, I’m compelled to stand up for my country. A May 8 letter, “Illegal acts of torture,” dared to equate the United States’ legally established approach to eliciting information, which in turn, literally saved countless American lives, with the torturously inhuman acts routinely carried out in order to preserve certain foreign regimes abroad.
The writer is certainly entitled to her own opinion; she is not entitled to her own set of facts.
The facts are that before engaging in the elicitation tactics her letter implies were illegal, the CIA took tremendous care and went to great lengths in advance to ensure, through the eyes of subject matter experts from the Department of Justice, the legality of its detainee program.
Allow me to be equally daring by suggesting that if one of those countless lives America’s “atrocious” tactics had saved was one of the writer’s loved ones, her perspective might be different.
Akron without Safety Town
Around March, I started to look into enrolling my soon-to-be 5-year-old in Safety Town. I wanted him to have an understanding of all the ways our community works to ensure his safety and, most important, how to gain access to and recognize the people who can help.
After some research, I discovered Akron does not have such a program available to its residents anymore.
The city does not offer Safety Town because of a lack of funding, storage and personnel. Fairlawn, Stow, Green and Copley all require attendees to be residents for this free five-day program or get on a waiting list in case there is an opening. I was warned that is a rare occurrence.
As a taxpayer I see this as one of the most direct links between myself and the city. I cherish the police officers and firefighters who work to keep my family safe.
Surely a city with a cabinet that has four deputy mayors, five directors, and two deputy directors to oversee services to the community must have adequate funding to educate children so they understand the safety net I am paying for.
My concern is that such an important program like this is not in place for the city of Akron. A program like Safety Town is so beneficial for children to understand the people and departments within the city and how they are there to help.
I would argue that topics such as stranger danger, crossing the street, seat belt safety, traffic lights, fire safety and 911 are more crucial within a city like Akron than in suburban areas, but it would be great if both could benefit from the program.
Isn’t the idea to expose children to these safety issues regardless of where they live?
Goodyear and the community
Recently, some small splash was made about Goodyear moving into its new digs that included a few published remarks intended to demonstrate the company’s “commitment to Akron and Northeast Ohio” (“Goodyear’s in motion,” May 10).
Let no one be mistaken, Goodyear’s commitment goes as far as the tax breaks allow and not beyond. Any state in the union could have Goodyear in its backyard had it offered a nickle more in incentives.
Our community includes most of the folks who worked for and retired from Goodyear. These are the folks who were told at year’s end that they would no longer have medical benefits available to them through the company and that the company would no longer have a fitness center retirees could use. The company, it seems, has washed its hands of anything that looks, feels or smells like a retiree.
Ask any retiree about Goodyear’s commitment to the community and get a real sense of what it means.
Then, after listening to the answer, recall that the grand opening of the company’s new headquarters was a private affair, attended by only invited dignitaries.
This new structure, one that inside must certainly be as attractive as it is on the outside, will never be seen close up by some of the company’s most ardent admirers, its retirees.
Is this indicative of Goodyear’s view of society at large?
You don’t have to answer now, but think about it.
I think all professional sports players should donate a percentage of their salary to the state in which their home team is located.
This money could go to the athletes in our schools, who, in many cases, have to pay to play.
Schools are already strapped for money.
Clinical trials to defeat cancer
May is National Cancer Research Month. There is probably no other field currently that has as much impact on human lives as does cancer research. Until a few years ago, cancer was equated with death and dying, as well as surrender and defeat.
Not anymore. Cancer is now viewed as a terrorist that we can defeat if we understand it, its movements and its behavior.
That understanding comes (and did come) through clinical and laboratory research, just like the CIA and other government agencies that use clandestine operations to watch terrorists, what they do, how they get their funding, what they eat and how they communicate with each other.
Sounds strange? It’s true. Government agencies failed, and miserably so, when they failed to communicate on Sept., 11, 2001.
In cancer research, we have learned that the basic scientists who investigate how cancer cells act, behave and communicate must convey that knowledge to clinicians. Clinicians then use that knowledge in their research, and it has worked like a charm.
It has become like an orchestra in which everyone performs his or her part when required, and in the end the outcome is a marvelous melody.
But the melody is worthless without an audience. Fortunately, things have changed in the past decade. Before that, implementing a clinical trial was like going upstream without a paddle.
Now, however, the public is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of patients participating in clinical trials, where scientific discoveries are translated to the bedside.
We are not there yet, though. Our fullest potential can only be achieved when every single cancer patient has access to a meaningful clinical trial approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
I am sure this goal is achievable; it has been done in pediatric oncology and has resulted in a more than 80 percent cure of children with cancer.
All we need is the public to be aware of what treatments are out there.
Nash Gabrail, M.D.