Ohio voters crush attack on collective bargaining

Nov. 9 - Congratulations to our brothers and sisters in Ohio! In a landslide victory, Ohio voters voted down a bill that would severely curtail the collective bargaining rights of public employees.


Working people, clergy, conservationists, small business owners, human rights advocates, and others nationwide are cheering in the wake of Ohio's victory. Democrats, Independents, and Republicans alike sent a message that is reverberating across the country: "We don't turn our backs on the public employees who watch ours."


Ohio is one of many states that delivered a sharp rebuke to Tea Party politicians and others who would undermine the middle class and working people's rights. Read more about Nov. 8 election victories in North Carolina, Michican, Maine, and elsewhere.


Watch this awesome video about the efforts of working folks and many others to defeat the attack on collective bargaining in Ohio.




Ohio voters resoundingly overturned the anti-worker agenda pushed by Gov. John Kasich (R), Republican state lawmakers and outside interest groups, which took away the right of public employees to collectively bargain for a middle-class life.


Buckeye State voters said “No” to Issue 2 by a 61 percent to 39 percent margin. The “No” vote on Issue 2 repeals Gov. Kasich’s Senate Bill. 5 that eliminated the collective bargaining rights of some 350,000 public employees, including teachers, nurses and firefighters.


"Voters did so because they know that in the last analysis if tea party politicians kill labor unions, they will kill what remains of the middle class," said MEA-MFT President Eric Feaver.


"Voters also voted right because labor unions, including our two national affiliates, NEA and AFT, fought back hard with an aggressive door-to-door ground game that sold the message voters needed to hear:  Labor unions are good for Ohio, good for America.  Labor unions are part and parcel of our democratic process. 


"Labor unions stand for competitive salaries and benefits. Labor unions promote quality, safe working conditions. Union labor provides the goods and services – including public schools, corrections, child and family services, Head Start, probation and parole, tax collections, historic preservation, and on and on – everyone of us has come to expect.  Labor unions grow our economy." 


Background: 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 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, Kasich even offered a so-called compromise in August.


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.

Dirty tricks from billionaire Koch Brothers: 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 downright false, TV ads and dirty tricks.


Billionaires Charles and David Koch are known to be substantial donors behind efforts to retain S.B. 5, according to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).


But their efforts could not stand up to the voices of the majority who support working people, public employees, and the middle class.


Advocates of working Americans and the middle class hope the vote will energize the efforts to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who has inflicted similar anti-public employee measures on that state.


[Reporting from AFT, NEA, and AFL-CIO]


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