YOUNGSTOWN - Faith-based community leaders in Youngstown are urging opponents of Senate Bill 5 to continue efforts to repeal what they're calling an oppressive, unproductive law.
''This bill does not create one job ... this bill does not create one job, but it threatens thousands of teachers, nurses and other public responders can be fired at will,'' said the Rev. Michael Harrison, pastor of Union Baptist Church. ''It gives entirely too much power to the boss and not enough power to the employee.''
Harrison and other church leaders Friday lashed out at the new law restricting the bargaining rights of public sector union workers, pledging to keep working toward having it appear on November's ballot in hopes of a repeal.
''Senate Bill 5 is a bill that will oppress working people, will oppress children, will oppress seniors, will oppress those doing their best to live and to contribute to the American dream,'' said Amariah McIntosh, pastor of Phillips Chapel CME Church.
Proponents say the bill is needed to help the state battle a budget deficit and to also level the playing field for local governments when they negotiate contracts with unions.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed the bill into law earlier this year; however, a ballot challenge has stalled its implementation.
A message seeking comment was left with the repeal opposition, Building a Better Ohio, an organization supportive of the reforms.
Friday's event was announced by We Are Ohio, an organization supportive of the repeal.
Kenneth Simon, pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church said the fight against Senate Bill 5 is more than a Democrat, labor or black and white issue, ''it's a human rights issue, a fundamental right that every hard working American should have and deserves.''
''The right to bargain collectively has been at the foundation and the core of our democracy,'' Simon said.
Jaladah Aslam, president of the Youngstown-Warren Black Caucus, said collective bargaining protects fairness for workers, especially minority workers.
''It is imperative that if we want to continue to be fair to women and minorities that we repeal this most aggressive, regressive and egregious legislation,'' said Aslam, staff representative for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Ohio Council 8.