28 April 2014

As the mobilization to defend Ohio’s attack on public worker’s rights, SB 5/Issue 2, a Quinnipiac poll was made public, with the widest gap yet on the issue. 57% stated their opposition to Issue 2 in the poll, with only 32% backing it.


There is no sign of overconfidence on the part of Issue 2 opponents, however. In Ohio’s Capital City & across the state organized labor & their coalition partners were mobilizing, preparing to bring the predicted victory home.


Jeanette Mauk, of We Are Ohio, the coalition leading the fight against Issue 2, stated; “We cannot sit on our laurels. We’ve done a great job so far bringing the message to Ohio families on how Issue 2 will hurt our communities if it passes. We aren’t going to let up now!”


This past week in Ohio’s major cities, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati & Dayton, thousands of opponents of Issue 2 participated in public marches to local Boards of Election, voting in mass against the Issue.


The Hilltop Parade, held this past Saturday in this working class section of Columbus, took on a pronounced political flavor this year as Issue 2 opponents carried “Vote No!” signs, handed out flyers and yelled to the crowds lining the streets. They were greeted with cheers, thumbs up & even spontaneous chants of “No on 2!”


An Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA) conference call this past Wednesday to organize opposition to Issue 2 connected an astonishing 25,000 participants from across the state in a spirited discussion. The call was led by Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga, with Ohio ARA Director Norm Wernet moderating.


On Thursday, hundreds of workers from the Social Security offices, members of American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and supporters organized by Ohio ARA holding demonstrations at agency offices, protesting huge proposed cuts to that program. The rallies in Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton & Warren were part of a wave of protests held in 140 cities across the nation against attacks on Social Security. Cuts proposed to Social Security by Republicans would close many agency offices and hurt elderly and disabled Americans.


“Social Security is our nation’s most successful federal program,” said ARA leader Norm Wernet. “Before Social Security passed, a majority of our nation’s seniors lived in poverty. This program changed all that, pulling them out of poverty, and it has not added a single dollar to the deficient. Blaming our nation’s retirees for the deficient is dishonest!”


Major mobilizations are planned for phone banks, precinct walks, marches and rallies everyday up until November. Early & absentee voting is being strongly encouraged by Issue 2 opponents, as well. In Columbus, a huge mobilization is being led by AFL-CIO President Burga, starting at the historic Firefighter’s Union Hall on November 5, the Saturday before election.


“The fight against Issue 2 is a tough struggle,” stated Burga, “but it’s given us an unprecedented opportunity to discuss with folks that we’d never had before the importance of collective bargaining to our state and how organized labor has positively impacted the lives of regular people.”