Mason public employees rally against Senate bill 5

 By Tiffany Teasley – bio | email 

MASON, OH (FOX19) - Many Mason teachers and firefighters just couldn't make it to Columbus, so they're bringing their fight back home, rallying together against Senate bill 5.

"We are voters, we are tax payers as well, and we want to make sure that we are doing our part to let them know that we are not happy with what's going on in Columbus," said Shawna Bender, a Mason teacher.

They're not happy and  they're not afraid to show it, Mason teachers and firefighters continued the protest that brought thousands to the statehouse, right in their own backyard.

"We want to show our opposition here locally as well to put faces to this protest, and to let everybody in the communities, not just statewide, but locally know that this is going to have a dramatic effect," said Mason Firefighters Union President Mark Gerano.

"We want to band together and show the community as well as Columbus that we're here," Bender said.

Mason firefighters say eliminating collective bargaining directly effects their safety.

"We're stripped of the ability to negotiate over certain safety issues that are in our contract, we consider that a bit of a compromise on the things we need to do in a community safely," Gerano said.

Educators say the bill would take away from valuable time in the classroom with students.

"We want our teachers focused on their classrooms, and without union support, we have teachers who are dealing with employment issues and taking the focus off of the students," said Mason Teachers Union President, Karrie Nelson.

Supporters of the bill say it helps to control spending a state facing an $8 billion budget shortfall, but teachers say there has to be another way.

"There are ways that we can work together to solve those issues and it doesn't mean attacking our public service employees, " Nelson said.

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