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Organized Labor Leads Charge To Resoundingly Overturn Anti-Worker Agenda In Ohio Pushed By Republican Governor/By A 63% To 37% Margin – Voters Say “No” To S.B. 5 – Which Had Taken Away The Right Of Public Employees To Collectively Bargain

Says National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: “This Was A Major Victory For Working Families In Ohio And Across The Country And Represents A Turning Point In Our Collective Work To Protect Good Jobs, Working Families And Workplace Rights”

Published Wednesday, November 9, 2011 8:00 am
by National AFL-CIO News & WNYLaborToday Staff

Ohio voters have resoundingly overturned the anti-Worker agenda pushed by Republican Governor John Kasich, Republican State Lawmakers and outside interest groups that had taken away the right of Public Employees to Collectively Bargain for a Middle-Class Life.

On Election Day, Buckeye State voters said “No” to Issue 2 by a reported 63% to 37% margin. The “No” vote on Issue 2 repeals Kasich’s S.B. 5 that eliminated the Collective Bargaining Rights of some 350,000 Public Employees, including Teachers, Nurses and Firefighters.

National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who joined Working Families in phone banking and canvassing said Issue 2′s defeat was a “major victory for Working Families in Ohio and across the country.”

“Ohio’s Working People successfully fought back against lies pushed by shadowy multi-national corporations and their anonymous front groups that attempted to scapegoat Public Service Employees and everyone they serve by assaulting Collective Bargaining Rights,” Trumka said,

“Ohioans from all backgrounds and political parties rejected the crazy notion that the ninety-nine-percent - Nurses, Bridge Inspectors, Firefighters and Social Workers - caused the economic collapse, rather than Wall Street.”

After the Ohio Legislature rammed the law through in late March - ignoring an outpouring of public opposition including demonstrations that brought thousands to the state capitol in Columbus - Ohio’s Working Families began a massive mobilization to repeal the law.

In just a matter of weeks, volunteers from the We Are Ohio Coalition collected more than 1.3 million signatures to put S.B. 5 repeal on the ballot.

With polls showing growing support for repeal and a rapidly-shrinking approval rating, in August Kasich even offered a so-called compromise.

But Working Families rejected the deal and continued the fight for full repeal.

As the election drew near, Unions and community groups knocked on doors, made phone calls and distributed literature around the state.  In the past weekend alone, volunteers knocked on more than 450,000 doors.

But while activists from dozens of states as far away as Alaska gave up their nights and weekends to call Ohio voters from home to get out the vote, S.B. 5 supporters turned to out-of-state money from extremist groups for misleading, and at times down right false televisions ads and dirty tricks. 

For example, in October, Cincinnati great grandmother Marlene Quinn - whose family was saved by firefighters - was featured in We Are Ohio television ad urging a “No” Vote on Issue 2.  But shortly after, one of the right-wing groups backing Issue 2 pirated footage for their own ad and doctored Quinn’s words to make it seem as if she was endorsing Issue 2.

Just today, some voters received “robo calls,” telling them Election Day was “tomorrow.”  

Read more on the voter suppression and voter manipulation attempts here.

AFL-CIO President Trumka, meanwhile, sent an e-mail to Union Members after the final vote was tabulated:

I’m in Ohio where Working Families have just won an incredible victory.

Ohioans overwhelmingly voted to repeal Senate Bill 5 - Governor John Kasich’s attack on Middle-Class Jobs that was designed to destroy Collective Bargaining Rights in Ohio.

This victory represents a turning point in our collective work to protect good jobs, Working Families and Workplace Rights.  

But it’s more than that.  

It’s a long-overdue return to common sense.

From the very beginning of our jobs crisis, anti-Worker politicians like Kasich have used our poor economy to push a cynical political agenda that favors the richest 1% at the expense of the 99%.

On Election Day, Ohio voters rejected that agenda.

During this campaign, Firefighters, Nurses, Teachers and other Public Employees were joined by Construction Workers, Bakery Workers and all kinds of Private-Sector Workers.  

They came together to ensure the survival of the Middle Class.  

And together, we’ll keep doing it.

Politicians who side with the richest 1% will find their radical efforts stopped by Working People who want America to work for everyone.

Watch the energy and dedication that went into this huge victory and join us.

This is our moment, and we won with solidarity.

We won because the Working People of Ohio - Public and Private Sector, Union and non-Union - stood together.

But the solidarity went even further than that: Volunteers traveled not just from neighboring Wisconsin, but from States as far away as California and New York to help get out the vote.

And activists from dozens of states as far away as Alaska gave up their nights and weekends to call Ohio voters from home.

Solidarity means that when Workers anywhere are under attack, we will all do whatever we can to help.

It means we’re in it together.

Watch our video.  See what solidarity looks like.

I hope you’ll celebrate this moment in your own way.  But the most important thing is to find a way to keep your own energy going and growing, so you can be a part of sustaining and growing our movement for all Working People: the 99%.
This fight we’ve taken on and won, and the threats we face going forward, are about more than Democrats or Republicans or 2012 battleground states.

They are about good jobs and our right to a voice on the job.

Together, we're building a new kind of politics - a politics that works for the 99%, not just the 1%.

We’ve got to start getting ready now to win tomorrow’s victories.

Over time, together, we’ll build a future that works for Working America.
Thank you for being a part of this Movement and for all you do for America’s Workers.

In Solidarity,

Richard Trumka
President, AFL-CIO


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