Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Sunday to discuss a referendum being held in Ohio that if successful would overturn a law curbing collective bargaining for all public workers.
Senate Bill 5, which was promoted by Ohio’s Republican governor John Kashich and passed by the Republican-dominated legislature, quickly inspired the state’s labor movement to circulate petitions and collect the necessary signatures to put the issue on next Tuesday’s ballot.
“The passion’s on our side,” Brown told Hayes. “John Kasich won last year talking mostly about lost jobs — the voters are upset about what’s happening, they voted for change — and he’s spent most of his first year … going after collective bargaining rights and voting rights and women’s rights and dividing the state unnecessarily.”
Brown cautioned, however, that passage of the referendum is no sure thing, saying, “The kind of money that the Karl Rove machine and … the private resources of the Republican Party and the special interest money makes this a real race. So that’s why I’m very concerned between now and Tuesday.”
“This may be the first time in American history when the issue of collective bargaining rights has actually been on a ballot in a major state for voters to decide on,” he added. “This is a big deal nationally because collective bargaining’s at stake.”
“I don’t see any question that there is some relation between Occupy Wall Street and what’s happening in Ohio,” Brown commented in response to a question. “Over one million signatures were gathered. … The secretary of state’s office had to call in a structural engineer to make sure that the floor can support boxes full of 1.3 million signatures.”
“This isn’t class warfare,” he emphasized. “The class warfare really has been the elite in this country and the privileged and Wall Street and others committing class warfare aimed at the middle class. … The voters and the public’s had it on this.”
This video is from Up with Chris Hayes, posted by MSNBC on November 6, 2011.