Young man speaking

Mark Stansbery, Free Press Board member, again did a fabulous job facilitating the May Second Saturday Cyber Salon on May 14.

See Video here.

The theme was International Worker’s Day in commemoration of May Day as the group celebrated the burgeoning new labor victories in central Ohio. Here is an article about Labor Day being May 1 by Nevin Siders.

The first speaker was Anthony Parker, a former OSU student and employee. Although OSU student workers are not allowed to organize, the students successfully started an organization last June called Student Workers United, currently with 200 active members. Some victories include achieving a $2/hour wage for dining service workers and a vote among students for wage increases, better benefits, sick days and holiday pay. OSU student organizers are putting pressure on the administration and have support from the Central Ohio Worker Center and lots of other OSU student organizations.

The second speaker was Damon from the downtown Starbucks that has successfully organized their workers with 70% signing union cards. With the help from Workers United and encouragement from Sherrod Brown, they have legal protection against Starbucks retaliation. Conditions at Starbucks were not ideal prior to the pandemic, but the way the Starbucks corporation prioritized profit over people during the worst of the pandemic initiated the union drive. The workers received support from the media, the community, the teacher’s union and Columbus DSA. The Westerville Starbucks location has unionized as well.

To help the union effort, Starbucks customers can try going only to the two stores that are organizing and telling the management that’s why they are there.

Scot Caplan also spoke briefly about organizing faculty at OSU Marion. To support that effort, contact AFSCME Council 8.

Mark noted that the national Labor Notes conference will be in Chicago in June.

Mimi Morris reminded us of the in-person Comfest this year and invited the labor speakers to give a workshop.

Joe Motil announced that the Columbus Coalition for Rent Control has launched its website. There is also an official Facebook page: Columbus Coalition for Rent Control.

Joe also let us know that anyone who like to help me circulate my petition to run in the 2023 Mayoral primary, send me an email message at or by Facebook message.

Chuck Lynd told us about upcoming Simply Living events:

Simply Share Sunday May 22 at 2 pm
Discussion Courses on Sustainability Topics Tuesday May 24 at 7 pm
AWARE: Glimpses of Consciousness Sunday at 2 pm at Studio 35 (- it's awesome!)

Bill Lyons talked about the Columbus Charter Review Commission and how they need input from Columbus community members. There will be a Zoom meeting on Thursday, May 26 at 7pm to discuss this in detail. Jon Beard spoke about how the process is undemocratic as it is a fake appointed Commission that doesn’t care about the wishes of the people. Email Bill to learn more about the Columbus Charter Review Commission.

Bill also wrote an article about radioactive brine.

Bryan Curtiss said that WCRS and WGRN need volunteers to staff their joint booth at Comfest - June 24-26.

Mary Jane Borden announced that adult use cannabis will not be on the ballot this fall. See her new Free Press article.

Pat Marida spoke about House Bill 434: Sign this EZ petition! Ohio House Bill 434 would create a new Ohio entity, the Ohio Nuclear Development Authority, that would do research and development on new nuclear reactors. It would spend an unspecified amount of Ohio taxpayer money. Tell Your Ohio State Senator to Stop HB 434 House Bill 434 would be an expensive, unaccountable, and radioactive distraction from real solutions to Ohio's energy needs. The Ohio Green Party is having a press conference on House Bill 434 this next Wed., May 18 at 12:00 noon at the Ohio Statehouse -- by the McKinley statue on the west sidewalk. This bill has already passed the Ohio House. Join us and hear about this bill. Attorney Terry Lodge and I will be speaking.

We thank Steve Caruso for being our tech guru for these salons.

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The next Free Press Cyber-Salon is June 12.

Hope to see you there!

Pete Johnson
President, Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism
Contact: 614-253-2571