April 2011

Ohio Workers Stand Up to Anti-Worker Legislation
index.html Home    Print    Email

Go to www.ibew.org

Ohio Gov. John Kasich was expected to approve a GOP-sponsored bill last month that strips public workers of their collective bargaining rights. But labor leaders are mobilizing to make sure it never sees the light of day.

Activists are looking to nullify the legislation by moving it to a statewide referendum. That will take a full-throttle effort from workers' allies to gather more than 200,000 signatures in 90 days, which would put the law on hold and place a repeal referendum on the state's November ballot.

Marietta Local 972 Business Manager Steve Crum said members are passing out fliers on jobsites, phone banking and mobilizing signature gatherers. "We have a lot of resources and energy to draw on," he said.

Ohio Senate Minority Leader Capri Cafaro highlighted the negative impact that the collective bargaining law would have on working families:

"We can't grow Ohio's economy by destroying jobs and attacking the middle class." Cafaro said.

The law would confine workers to bargaining over wages only. It would eliminate collective bargaining for health care, sick time and vacations.

Crum, who attended several rallies last month, said that the referendum push is critical to oppose the legislation.

"If our opponents are successful at beating back collective bargaining for state workers, we're next," Crum said. "Right-to-work and anti-PLA laws won't be far behind. So we have to make this our fight."

Dave Appleman, Fourth District International Representative, agrees. "Kasich and his crew are out to wipe out unions totally. We better be in it—because we'll be next."

Former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland—who lost re-election last year to Kasich—joined the March protests to lend support to union workers. "This [bill] has little to do with balancing this year's budget," he told a crowd of demonstrators in Columbus. "It's an attempt to diminish the rights of working people. It's an assault on the middle class of this state and it's unfair and out of balance."

Kasich, who has worked as a Fox News contributor, spent half a decade as an investment banker with the former Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers—the group whose 2008 collapse helped trigger the recession that has hit working people in Ohio disproportionately hard.

A 16,000-member Facebook group has up-to-the-minute info on the referendum push. Visit www.facebook.com and search for "Stop Senate Bill 5 in Ohio."


Read more: THE WAR ON WORKERS: Favorites Draw Record Votes

Read more: Wisconsin Ground Zero for Attacks on Workers

Read more: New Hampshire: 'The Toughest Fight Yet'

Read more: Florida Workers: Standing Together

Read more: Indiana Right-to-Work Effort Derailed by Labor Pushback

Read more: Meanwhile, Back in Washington, D.C.:
GOP Plan Calls for Gutting Rights, Slashing Jobs

Read more: Activists Keep up the Pressure on Michigan Lawmakers

Read more: Maine Workers Tell Gov.:
'We Need Good Jobs, Not Partisan Attacks'

Teachers, firefighters, health care workers and numerous public employees joined thousands at a February protest at the Ohio statehouse.

Resources for
IBEW Activists

Where to go to get involved and
stay up-to-date

We Are One
Americans will be rallying across the country the first week of April in support of workers' rights. Go to the Web site to find an action near you.

States of Denial
An online resource for grassroots activists.

Progressive States Network
An organization committed
to promoting pro-worker, progressive legislation in
all 50 states.

Economic Policy Institute 
A nonpartisan think tank focused on the needs of working people.

The latest updates from IBEW members across the country
in the battle to defend workers' rights.

IBEW Facebook Page
Connect with over 15,000 IBEW members across the country.