On December 2, Columbus Area Labor-Management Committee conducted our final membership meeting of 2015. Over 40 members and guests attended the session which featured presentations on legislative issues facing employees and employers.
The speakers for the program were Ohio State Senator Jim Hughes (R-16), John Ryan, State Director and Joe Gilligan, Central Ohio Regional Director for U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D), and Jaiza Page, member of Columbus City Council.
Among the key points made by our speakers were:
- Each speaker discussed the need to maintain jobs and attract new employment to Central Ohio.
- Do not presume because someone is perceived to be on the other side they will not listen. Not all Democrats or Republicans think a certain way. Senator Hughes reminded everyone he was one of a few Republicans to vote against the anti-labor Senate Bill 5.
- All speakers encouraged the audience to talk to their legislators and candidates, emphasizing the importance of face-to-face contact. They pointed out this is a good time to meet, before the budget process begins in January.
- Senator Hughes discussed the importance of apprenticeship programs in Ohio high schools to open additional options for students, adding that legislation to help provide for these programs is in works in the Ohio Legislature.
- The most important message was one shared by Senator Hughes. He reminded the audience they to try to bridge the gap between the sides in all issues.
This is the same message CALMC offers. Whether it is in the workplace or the political process, the only way to bring people together is to reach out and try. We often assume the other side will not listen or participate so we do not make the effort. When this happened, everyone loses and the split becomes deeper.
When we reach out to the other side, our first efforts may not draw a response. When this happens, we need to try again, and again, and again until we get a response. Some of the best groups with which we have worked came together because one side (or both) finally said, “We can’t continue this way”, approached the other side, and found common ground to work together. Unfortunately, we have also seen instances where there was no effort to work together until it was too late, if at all, resulting in negative outcomes, including business closures.
Our thanks go to our speakers and to our members and guests who attended the meeting. Your support helps us continue our work.
The next CALMC membership meeting will be in late February or early March 2016 (waiting to confirm our speaker). To receive information about upcoming CALMC meetings, contact us via our website or email.