A few weeks ago we asked our readers to share their stories about the fight of Senate Bill 5 and Issue 2.   Some of the stories we received were about families coming closer together.  We thought we’d share a few.

Courtney Johnson shared this story about canvasing with her son…

CourtneyI was driving in my car listening to the Ed Schultz show on the radio. The host was discussing the attack on collective bargaining in Wisconsin, and then he mentioned that this bill in Ohio, this Senate Bill 5, was even worse for unions than the bill introduced by Scott Walker in Wisconsin.

I started paying attention to the urgent calls to action from my local union, the Columbus Education Association, and my state union, the Ohio Education Association.

On a rainy President’s Day in February 2011, I took this first picture of my kid, as we knocked on doors asking folks in Westerville to call State Senator Kevin Bacon and ask him to vote no on the bill in committee.

In the coming weeks, I would go from a teacher making signs in her kitchen to a teacher speaking to Senators, testifying in front of Congressional committees, and on the Ed Schultz show myself! It was an incredibly fulfilling experience to be a part of such solidarity among working people. And, while it was a win I will never forget, I know that we only succeeded in protecting what we already had: the ability to speak up for what is best for the students we serve, (like my kid in this picture).

We still have a fights ahead of us in Ohio, and I am ready for them.


Catherine Girves sent us this story about working with her father…

afscmefamilyI grew up in a politically divided household. My mom was a hard core Democrat. My dad voted Republican. To be fair, my dad was fiscally conservative but socially liberal. However, that did not extend to working people. Organized Labor was a BIG area of contention between my parents. My mom was taught, and taught us, NEVER to cross a picket line. She was raised in a union household and understood the power dynamics that necessitates unions. My dad operated a small business. He successfully broke a union.

In 2008, things began to change in a noticeable way with my dad. He was clearly intrigued, then quickly inspired by then candidate Obama. It was the racial reconciliation speech after the Reverend Wright press incident. First, my dad started wearing buttons, then t-shirts, then campaign workers were staying in my parent’s house. By election day, my dad had become such an active volunteer for the Obama campaign that it was like an episode of Cheers when Norm walked into the bar – my dad would walk into Obama campaign headquarters and everyone would shout “Dave!”

His commitment to the President did not end on election night. He continued to work 40+ hours a week helping to enact the President’s agenda. So maybe it wasn’t so crazy when my dad, (someone I spent my life thinking of as a fairly conservative, quiet guy, who didn’t talk much), approached me in February of 2011 and asked for advice on how to get a permit to hold a rally at the State House. Oh and, “Could I please help him organize a rally to overturn Senate Bill 5?” I still tear up when I think about it.

It is incredible to live in a time when a man like my dad can be transformed by a leader like President Obama. I guess I also should thank Republicans like John Kasich for making the choice so clear.


And SB5 inpired Don Witner to bring his kids to the Statehouse.  He sent us this story…

This was my first real foray into politics and man did I jump in with both feet. I attended rallies in Akron and Columbus. My wife thought I had moved to Columbus because I spent so much time there. I was asked to speak to a “few” Educators at a rally in Cuyahoga Falls, It turned out to be a few hundred, I went off the cuff on my speach and closed with..”don’t say no on SB-5, say HELL NO” and the crowd loved it.

I am sure my co-workers were sick of hearing me rally against a bill that I knew would cause serious harm to the public sector.

I did learn my way around the Capitol building and spent many hours in my Senators and Representatives offices. I even took my children to the capitol building for spring break.

I was fortunate enough to make some very good friends during the fight agains a very bad bill.

If I had it to do all over again, I would do it in a heartbeat.