Labor unions and public workers claimed an important victory Tuesday after over 63 percent of voters in Ohio rejected Gov. John Kasich's (R) plan to strip public workers of collective bargaining rights.
"Last night, the people Ohio, from teachers and firefighters to the building trades and public sector workers to the jobless, sent a message that will reverberate across the country, that politicians need to stop scapegoating workers and pushing an extreme partisan agenda," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters on a conference call Wednesday.
"The victory last night in Ohio was neither a beginning, nor and end, but an important landmark in the struggle for the 99 percent who want America to work for everyone," he added. "Because of the dramatic overreach of many politicians in Ohio and around the country, working people will continue to raise their voices. The 99 percent who didn't get rich while the rich were wrecking the American economy have decided to stand up for themselves and demand a fair share."
An exit poll conducted by Hart Research found that 52 percent of non-union voters and 86 percent of union voters rejected the measure. Among Democrats, 94 percent voted no, while 70 percent of Republicans voted to limit collected bargaining. Even 26 percent of those who voted to elect Kasich in 2010 disagreed with the governor on this issue.
"As an active duty firefighter in Ohio, I was so grateful after last night to the people of Ohio for standing with firefighters and the other public employees who help keep our community safe and strong," Doug Stern, another one of the call's participants, said of the election results. "We've proven since before the recession began that firefighters and other public employees are willing to make sacrifices through collective bargaining. As a matter of fact, we have saved our cities and our state over one billion dollars in the last three years alone."
Photo: Flickr/AFL-CIO Ohio