COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus City School teachers are not receiving compensation or benefits while on strike. The union said the teachers will not receive benefits, including healthcare, at any point during the strike.
At the Ohio statehouse, there is an effort to change that precedent for workers choosing to strike across Ohio.
“As long as workers can lose their healthcare while on the strike, power dynamics are shown to the employer’s advantage,” said Ohio Sen. Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus).
Craig plans to introduce legislation that would protect striking workers from losing their healthcare benefits. He said when he talks to striking workers, they worry about not having any insurance both for themselves and their families.
“This is not hyperbole,” Craig said. “This is real to them.”
The legislation is similar to the Striking Workers Healthcare Protection Act, introduced federally by Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.
“The pandemic is serious,” Craig said. “And for all of us, this issue around healthcare is vital and critical.”
Craig said while striking is the last resort, it is the bedrock of labor rights. He said this bill would not protect anything else like compensation and other benefits.
“All of those things are important, but our focus is going to be on the healthcare issue,” Craig said. “I think we’ve got to be laser-focused.”
He said maintaining benefits like healthcare is simply fundamental. Craig said he plans on introducing this bill during this current legislative session.
“We’re going to continue to work with everyone broadly and thoughtfully as we move forward,” Craig said.
NBC4 reached out to Senate and House Republicans at the statehouse, but none made themselves available for an interview.