Safety forces display billboards encouraging a 'No' vote on Issu - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Safety forces display billboards encouraging a 'No' vote on Issue 2 to reject SB5

Local safety forces launched a battle against Issue 2, the collective bargaining issue.

Bill boards have been erected as part of a campaign paid for, in part, by safety forces.

The message is simple, for a safer community, vote no on Issue 2. Paying for the $60,000 campaign, a coalition made up of the CPPA, Northern Ohio firefighters and the Ohio PBA. All feel the limits SB5 put on collective bargaining should be reversed with a no vote on Issue 2.

"If our voices are silenced by saying you can't talk about manpower, that kind of harms the residents in a nutshell," said firefighter Brian Dunlap.

The union leaders say safety is the issue, not money, emphasizing that during this economic crunch public employee unions and municipalities have worked together.

The collective bargaining process has worked for the last three years to get us through those economic problems," said Jim Astorino of Northern Ohio Firefighters. "What they're trying to do is just get the ultimate power to do what they want."

By underscoring safety, the unions are taking the focus off frequent criticism that the benefits that they receive, like pensions far outstrip those available to private sector workers. CPPA's Steve Loomis took note of raises just handed out to statehouse workers.

"Try to explain that to 123 of my guys who are laid off or the citizens here in Cleveland who are that short with police protection," said CPPA President Steve Loomis.

Six billboards will go up. Phone calling and door-to-door efforts will come as election day approaches. The hope is that by educating the public on Issue 2, not dictating public opinion will form a tide that will see collective bargaining limits die.

It's estimated the billboards will be seen by 1.8 million people every week. How many will be swayed from what they already think about the issue is anybody's guess.

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