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As just reported, Gov. John Kasich's anti-collective bargaining law, Senate Bill 5, just got soundly defeated in Ohio, falling with 61.7 percent voting against it as of 10 p.m. Eastern time. With 14 counties still to report, only seven of the state's 88 counties voted in favor of the anti-union bill. More than one million Ohio voters cast their ballot against the extreme bill in an off-year election, showing strong opposition to this type of tactic that targets working families at the expense of the 1 percent.
We Are Ohio, the key group fighting the law, issued the following statement:
Tonight We Are Ohio thanked Ohio voters for their historic and overwhelming support of collective bargaining rights for Ohio’s everyday heroes. In what is thought to be the first election in the country on collective bargaining rights, Issue 2 was soundly defeated by Ohio voters. Today’s vote shows middle class Ohioans wanted to send a clear and emphatic message to our leaders and our nation that Ohioans don't turn our backs on the people who watch ours. This vote indicates Ohioans not only support public employees but they also understand that they have been problem solvers and have done so by making more than $1 billion in sacrifices in just the last three years.
“Many Ohioans have been with us since the beginning,” said Courtney Johnson, a public school teacher in Ironton. “From the day we were locked out of the statehouse to the day we turned in 1.3 million signatures, we have felt the support of Ohioans. Tonight we thank you and all Ohio voters for your historic and overwhelming support of collective bargaining rights for Ohio’s everyday heroes.”
“This vote indicates Ohioans not only support public employees, but they also understand we have been problem solvers and have done so by making more than $1 billion in sacrifices in just the last three years,” said Doug Stern, Cincinnati Firefighter. We all know it didn't have to be this way, and it doesn't have to be this way moving forward.”
“We are humbled by the support we have received from middle class Ohioans who voted to defeat issue 2 and reject senate bill 5,” said Tamar Gray, a public school teacher in Cleveland. “This is a victory for all Ohioans who want to solve the challenges facing our state without attacking the middle class. Tonight we will enjoy this historic victory, while tomorrow we will go back to work. Now is the time to come together as Ohioans and focus on protecting and creating good paying jobs in the public and private sectors all across the state.”
We Are Ohio is a citizen-driven, community-based, bipartisan coalition that came together to stop Senate Bill 5, the unfair and unsafe law that would have cost our local communities jobs.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said:
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.
Ohioans from all backgrounds and political parties rejected the crazy notion that the 99 percent — nurses, bridge inspectors, firefighters,and social workers — caused the economic collapse, rather than Wall Street.
Labor group Working America issued the following statement:
It started in Wisconsin with a rejection of an assault on workers’ rights and carried on throughout this fall with the energy of the 99% on display all across the country. With tonight’s defeat of Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s anti-worker legislation SB-5, our country is turning the corner on the attack on working families and the 99%. This is a confirmation that the people of Ohio, whether union or nonunion, whether Democrat or Republican, overwhelmingly support the fundamental right of workers to have a say in their working conditions.
The defeat of SB-5 is a victory for all working people– from Lancaster to Toledo, Canton to Cincinnati –who were part of a massive grassroots effort to overturn this bill. Working America organizers, members and volunteers visited the homes of nearly 400,000 working class people across Ohio. Members, who don’t have a union on the job, sent thousands of emails and letters to lawmakers and their local news media, friends and neighbors, all in an effort to protect jobs and democracy by shutting down this legislation.
Tonight, Ohioans showed that scapegoating teachers, firefighters and other public sector workers won’t work, and that the 99 percent want politicians who work for them. Anything else, they will reject.
Tonight at the ballot box, clearly and loudly, they did just that.
Finally, the Communications Workers of America added:
Tonight, Ohio citizens sent a message to extremist politicians: stop the attacks on working families and against workers who keep our communities secure.
This really was a victory for the ordinary people of Ohio. And it was a sharp lesson for Ohio politicians and their right-wing supporters who thought they could push through an extremist agenda at the expense of Ohio citizens and communities.
Elected officials who are considering more tax giveaways to the 1 percent should take a close look at this vote. The 99 percent have spoken loud and clear.
“We need to rebuild the American Dream. The attacks on workers’ rights, civil rights, our communities and environment are all connected, and we will stand together,” said CWA District 4 Vice President Seth Rosen. “In Ohio, union members, community groups and individual citizen activists, are building a broad movement to fight for good jobs and strong communities, over many election days, not just one.”
Some politicians tried to claim that this campaign was all about taxes and spending, but Ohio citizens pushed back. Working people stood together, whether they worked in telecommunications and other private industry jobs or public service, and stood up for strong communities and bargaining rights for all. From gathering more than 1 million signatures to get this issue on the ballot, to calling neighbors and going door-to-door, Ohio workers were determined to make sure voters had all the facts about the harm Issue 2 could have caused.
Working families know that this measure threatened the rights of all workers, just as it threatened Ohio schools, hospital care, universities and other vital public services. Ohio voters also recognized that it’s Wall Street and greedy corporate interests that have caused the state’s budget shortfall, not the workers who keep us, our children and our communities safe.
Think Progress notes the historic nature of the vote:
This is the first vote on workers’ collective bargaining rights in the nation’s history and, as Plunderbund notes, marks the first time a governor has seen signature legislation rejected by voters in his or her first year.
There were a number of other important elections across the country, Daily Kos reports mostly good results:
Called races: KY-Gov (Beshear, D) | KY-AG (Conway, D) | KY-Ag Commish (Comer, R) | KY-SoS (Grimes, D) | KY-Auditor (Edelen, D) | KY-Treasurer (Hollenbach, D) | OH Issue 2 (good guys) | ME Question 1 (good guys)
In another very important vote, the so-called "Personhood Amendment" in Mississippi, was trailing, but it was too early to make a definitive statement about its chances for passage.