Ohio voters defeat direct attack on collective bargaining for middle class
PITTSBURGH, Nov. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) declared the 99 percent stood up and fought back with votes against the millions of dollars poured into Ohio by the one percent of Wall Street on Election Day and among other states to declare a turning point in protecting good jobs, working families and workplace rights.
Leo W. Gerard, USW President, said: "Active and retired Steelworkers Union members joined their neighbors and all working families to reject the anti-worker Issue 2 on the ballot in support of firefighters, teachers, nurses, bus drivers, bridge inspectors, social workers and other public employees.
"It was a citizens' victory for all. We stood together, public and private sector – union and non-union – to start a new direction and declaration to the extremist politicians that Ohio voters reject their agenda. Now we've got to prepare for tomorrow's victories and build a future for an America that works for all of us."
USW members gathered at election watch events and union halls in Columbus, Cleveland, Canton and Cincinnati to celebrate the moment with other union members, students, families and friends. Ohio voters struck down Senate Bill 5 passed and signed by Gov. John Kasich after being placed by petition on the ballot as Issue 2. The anti-worker law was killed by a stunning margin of 61-39 percent of the vote.
According to the Ohio Secretary of State, voter turnout was at 46 percent, which is the highest off-year participation in 20 years. The vote against Issue 2 was more than 2.1 million and significantly higher than the 2010 vote that put Gov. Kasich in office.
S.B. 5 would strip collective bargaining rights from nearly 350,000 Ohio public employees that give teachers a voice in the classroom, home health care workers a living wage, firefighters and police officers a say in staffing and response times for emergencies.
"Despite what some Ohio state politicians claimed, it was never about money," declared Dave McCall, Director for USW District 1 in Ohio. "It was about Gov. Kasich's revenge agenda against working people. Steelworkers ran phone banks, hand billed public places and work sites, recruited friends and neighbors to get out the vote. Solidarity worked." He said more than 10,000 volunteers collected 1.3 million signatures to place Issue 2 on the ballot.
Gerard cited Election Day wins in other states too. Voters sent a wake-up call to anti-worker politicians in Michigan by voting to recall state Rep. Paul Scott (R-Grand Blanc) – the first recall since 1983. In Arizona, a recall of GOP state Sen. Russell Pearce, the architect of a repressive immigration law, was beat by fellow Republican Jerry Lewis who doesn't support an immigration crackdown.
Maine voters rejected a voter suppression law by a 16 percent margin – rejecting a same-day registration ban.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) won reelection overcoming a tough economy in a conservative state to sail to a second term in office. Also in another special election in Wisconsin, Democrat Jill Billings has won the 95th Assembly District with a whopping 72 percent of the vote. Iowa Democrat Liz Mathis won Senate District 18, 56 to 44 percent, keeping Democrats in control of the state senate.
The USW represents 850,000 members in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. It is the largest private sector union in North America, representing workers in a wide diversity of industries. For more, go to www.usw.org