Chamber's Support of SB5 Draws Fire

Tom Humphries | Picture via WKBN

from WKBN. Click here for the full article and videos.

The Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce is one of the few groups locally that supports Senate Bill 5, which would drastically alter collective bargaining for Ohio's public employees.

On Wednesday in downtown Youngstown, Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman Dave Betras demanded the chamber pull its support. If the Chamber won't, then the group wants local businesses to quit supporting the chamber. And if the businesses refuse, Betras said boycotting is a possibility.

"I am disappointed because that is not how adults deal with issues. When we have issues we try to deal with them around the table. That is what unions do, neighborhoods do that," said Regional Chamber President Tom Humphries.

Betras fired back.

"It is insulting that Tom Humphries would use the chamber to do nothing more that ingratiate himself with the govenor. He is our economic development director. He has no business and the chamber has no business weighing in on these issues," Betras said.

Officials at the chamber say they believe SB5 will help save money in the long run and bring more businesses to Ohio.

"We believe it will save money. Will it save money this year? I can't tell you about this year, but starting to deal with the issue will save money in the future and keep us more competitive," Humphries said.

Local union members said they are upset with the chamber's position because they said they have already given concessions and don't feel they can give anymore.

JoAnn Johntony, of the Ohio Association of Public Service Employees said local workers are willing to make sacrifices.

"There is no problem bringing jobs if he would get off his hind end instead of sucking up to the govenor," Johntony said.

Humphries said he is willing to sit down and discuss the issue with Betras. Betras said he does not want to talk to Humphries, saying Humphries is being too political.

Sign Up
Remember me