Thomas Bradley / Lantern Photographer
Thousands of protesters flooded the lawns in an attempt to drown out Gov. John Kasich as he gave his State of the State address.
After encouragement from protest leaders, hundreds of protesters filed into the Statehouse at about noon today. The protesters were in opposition of Kasich and Senate Bill 5.
Led by firefighters, Democratic party members gathered in all corners of the Statehouse. Boos and chants including “kill the bill,” “we won’t quit,” and “cut your wages,” echoed throughout the Statehouse.
SB 5 is an overhaul of a 23-year-old collective bargaining law, which gave public employees, such as firefighters, teachers and steelworkers, the right to bargain for their wages, hours, working conditions and benefits.
While many protesters filled the house, thousands remained on the lawn during the address.
One of those was Karen Scott, a librarian from North Olmsted, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. Scott opposes SB 5. She said she is willing to work with Kasich to improve Ohio’s future.
“There is a misconception that librarians are overpaid and receive huge benefit packages,” Scott said. “This is not true, for the last two years we have experienced layoffs and received no raises for two years now.”
People not only from Ohio, but from around the country were at the Statehouse.
Dolline Moton, a resident of Florida, came to Columbus to support the workers of Ohio.
“I’m in support of the workers, I am against the bill,” Moton said.
One firefighter, Michael Tippett of the Worthington Fire Department, said he was in opposition SB 5 for one main reason.
“It takes away my right to bargain, it takes away what I have bargained for,” Tippett said. “We started our union 20 years ago.”
Mike Carroll, a member of United Steel Workers and a resident of Mansfield, Ohio, said he is at the protest to try and stop his governor from attacks on working families.
“This bill affects all working families in the state,” Carroll said. “It drives down wages.”
Carroll said the jobs Kasich claims SB 5 will create will be minimum wage jobs.
“You can’t support a family on minimum wage,” he said.