In a resounding victory for organized labor, by a vote of 61 to 39 percent, Ohio voters yesterday overturned the law aimed at restricting the collective bargaining rights of public employees. Designated as Issue 2 on the Ohio ballot, the law, S.B. 5, which was hurried through the state legislature by Republican governor John Kasich in late March despite strong opposition from working families in Ohio and across the nation, drew immediate and strong reaction from both public and private sector unions in cities and state capitals across the country.
S.B. 5 eliminated the collective bargaining rights of over 350,000 public employees, including teachers, nurses, and firefighters. The move to repeal the bill started almost immediately and the We Are Ohio coalition collected more than 1.3 million signatures to put S.B. 5 repeal on the Ohio ballot.
IATSE International President Matthew Loeb stated that he was proud that many IA Locals participated in the effort to repeal S.B. 5, with reps as well as rank and file members traveling from several eastern and western states to join protests, phone banks and door-to-door information efforts.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who joined working families in phone banking and canvassing, said “Issue 2’s defeat is a major victory for working families in Ohio and across the country.” Other labor victories were recorded in Kentucky, Mississippi and Maine.
President Loeb echoed President Trumka’s sentiments, saying “This is not the time to blame working families for the calamitous state of the US economy, when organized labor has been fighting an uphill battle against the forces of Wall Street money and corporate greed. We are losing the middle class in this country, and it is up to organized labor to protect our brothers and sisters in the areas of safe working conditions, and health and pension benefits. Legislators in this country have been put on notice. And we aim to follow through with everything we can do.”