The Electrical Worker online
October 2012

IBEW Mobilizes for Races
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Ohio IBEW Activists Keep Pro-‚Ā†Worker Momentum Alive

Ohio voters made history last year, repealing Gov. John Kasich's anti-worker Senate Bill 5 by overwhelming margins. The legislation would have eliminated collective bargaining rights for public employees, including teachers, cops and firefighters.

Led by a massive grassroots coalition of public- and private-sector unions, along with community, civil rights and student groups, the SB 5 recall movement not only upheld public workers' rights but put a freeze on efforts to introduce right-to-work legislation.

Now working families there are gearing up to keep the anti-worker special interests on the run by re-electing President Obama and Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Joe Biser, a 20-year member of Columbus Local 683, says the Republicans have "become so radicalized, they killed bipartisanship. And that's why Congress hasn't been able to do anything about the jobs crisis. I remember when [GOP Senate Republican leader] Mitch McConnell said he wanted Obama to fail. Well, if the president fails, the country fails because it means he isn't able to focus on jobs."

The journeyman electrician, active in the anti-SB 5 campaign, is working with the IBEW's grassroots political program to educate members and their families about what a Romney presidency would mean for middle-class families in Ohio.

"He represents all those who are trying to take away our way of life — everything we've fought for that has garnered us a spot in the middle class," Biser says.

Local 683 Business Manager Mario Ciardelli says education and building a member-to-member network is key to victory in November. "Some members who aren't plugged into the local get a lot of their information about politics from the endless attack ads running on TV and from right-wing talk radio," he says. "We're asking them to turn off the TV and focus on the real issues: job creation, Davis-Bacon, retirement security, project labor agreements, right-to-work. And on all those issues Romney and the GOP are on the other side."

Ciardelli says Brown has been a leader on the issues affecting working families: fair trade, job growth and workers' rights. "He's stood with us and Ohio when it counted, and we don't forget that."

The IBEW is also mobilizing in support of Issue 2, a ballot initiative that would reform the way Ohio's congressional districts are redistricted, placing authority in the hands of an impartial state-appointed commission. "It's about taking the partisan politics out of redistricting, so you don't have these gerrymandered districts that don't fairly represent Ohio voters," says Ciardelli.


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IBEW's Ohio activism hasn't let up since voters rejected SB 5 last year.