Supporting the Dignity of Work and our Firefighters

I want to take a moment to address some comments from a resident at our recent township meeting regarding our firefighters. An accusation was made that we are overpaying these individuals and that the contract negotiated between the government Franklin Township, Franklin County, Ohio and Franklin Township Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 1441 is a waste of taxes.

Let me be absolutely clear, the wages and benefits in this contract are fair and I fully support and stand by this unanimously approved collective bargaining agreement.

When I started, our firefighters were one of the lowest paid professional firefighters in Franklin County. They face numerous challenges every day as they protect and serve our community. They run into burning buildings, the administer Narcan to those that have overdosed, and they save lives. These, and all first responders, deserve our respect and to be paid a living wage. This contract, while a major improvement, still places our workers in the bottom third of firefighters in terms of overall benefits and wages—something I will continue to work to close the gap and bring equity to.

I strongly value the dignity of work and the efforts of our township's first responders. If you work hard, you deserve a fair and living wage. That is something that I will always fight for and believe in.

When our roads crew's contract came up, the board of trustees worked together to give them an increase in wages that they deserved. We worked to raise the hourly wages of the administrative staff and have supported their efforts to join a union. Soon, our police will be negotiating a new contract and I intend to work with them to ensure they are paid fairly. This is something that is deeply rooted in what I believe.

The American dream is to work a decent job that supports you and your family. All workers should have the right to join a union, negotiate a contract, and earn good wages and benefits. I will never back down on this value and will always fight to protect those that serve and those that need a fair shake. Together, we are able to improve the quality of life for all and that, I believe, is why I have been called to public service as one of your Franklin Township Trustees.