The people of Ohio stood up and said to Gov. Kasich and the Republican controlled legislature in a loud and clear voice, “We are mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore!” The referendum on SB 5 was defeated across party lines by 61% to 39%.
The fight over Issue 2, which would have stripped collective bargaining rights from many hard-working middle class people, proved to be a battle ground for rights and dignity for the Ohio workers. It was a battle that was far more than just Republicans versus Democrats, or union versus non-union, or even the haves versus the have-nots; it was a battle for the right to be heard. Ohioans and the American people in general are fair, intelligent and reasonable when treated with respect and given the opportunity to participate in problem solving sessions.
Gov. Kasich’s bus finds a roadblock
When Gov. Kasich rode into office a year ago he came with an arrogant attitude that said it is my way or the highway. He literally told a gathering of reporters and lobbyists that if you aren’t on his bus he is going to run you over. What he didn’t consider is—if you get enough people surrounding the bus then it isn’t going anywhere. Some tried to get on his bus but found the doors closed and others began looking for another mode of transportation. Now the people have found their own bus and are driving it straight toward Kasich and his buddies.
At his concession speech Gov. Kasich said he will take some time to listen but then defiantly announced that local governments should not expect a state bailout. People don’t want bailouts. They want to work. They want the opportunity to bring management and workers to the table to discuss among themselves their problems and work out a solution benefitting all. It is called negotiating and compromise.
Ohioans won’t tolerate disrespect
Former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland noted how state workers took 20 furlough days and pay freezes to help him balance the budget. “The impression that was given to the public was that public employees aren’t willing to participate. I think they have been and will continue to be,” Strickland said. “But they are not going to take disrespect, and they aren’t going to tolerate name-calling. If this administration understands that, then I think there could be the ability to work together.”
Bill Leibensperger, vice president of the Ohio Education Association said, “There has always been room to talk. That’s what collective bargaining is about. You bring adults around a table to talk about serious issues.
Support crosses party lines
These issues were important to more than just the people directly affected by SB 5. We Are Ohio, the organization behind voting no on Issue 2, raised $30 million, four times that of the Republican Building a Better Ohio. In addition, more people voted against Issue 2—about 2.1 million—than voted Kasich into office in 2010—1.89 million. In a Quinnipiac Poll two weeks before the election, 32% of Republicans were opposed to SB 5.
Vice President Joe Biden issued a statement saying, “By standing with teachers and firefighters and cops, Ohio has sent a loud and clear message that will be heard all across the country: The middle class will no longer be trampled on.”
Grandma Quinn—“We showed him!”
But Grandma Quinn, the great-grandmother who unwilling became the face of the campaign, said it best when she said, “That showed (Kasich). We showed him.” Short, sweet, and to the point. I like that Grandma Quinn.
Yes, Ohio’s voice regarding treatment of the middle class was clear last night and loud enough to be heard across the nation, “We are mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore!”
Vote NO on Issue 2
My conservative nature causes me to wince when I call a person a liar but in the case of Issue 2 there are no other words for what is happening. The supporters for Issue 2 have resorted to lies and smear campaigns to keep the legislation on the books that was SB 5.
Lie #1—State workers don’t pay their fair share for benefits
Gov. Kasich constantly says in his commercials that he is merely asking state workers to pay their fair share for benefits. He claims that he is asking state workers to pay 10 to 15% for their health care and retirement benefits. Well, guess what—they already pay that amount. My husband is a retired state worker and has paid into his benefits from the beginning. They also claim that it is unfair state and public workers get pension benefits for life! Yes, they do and should—those benefits aren’t a gift—they are what the workers have paid into instead of social security or a 401K. Considering the current debates nationally over social security, the Republicans should be happy with this because state workers do not get social security.
Lie #2—State workers are paid 43% more
State workers are paid 43% more! That is according to Kasich. REALLY? If that is true I want to know where all that extra money is. It certainly isn’t in our pockets. If public workers receive that much then everyone and his brother would be lined up for state jobs.
Lie #3—“Joe the Teacher” is no ordinary teacher
An ad which appears to be an ordinary teacher has been running in which he praises Issue 2. In reality, “Joe the Teacher” is Kyle Farmer, a self-described “political operative” who is chairman of the Fairfield County GOP. Farmer is not just an ordinary teacher but played a prominent role in Kasich’s 2010 campaign and has political ambitions of his own. It is rumored that he plans to run for the Ohio House of Representatives. Adding insult to injury, the small school district where he lives has already suffered a $330,000 in cuts or nearly 17% over the status quo.
Lie #4—Granny Gate
Perhaps the best example of the lies from this campaign is the now famous Grandma Quinn commercial in which the Vote Yes people took her emotional ad for voting NO, twisted her words, and took them out of context to make it appear she was in favor of Kasich’s SB 5. (See Opponents of “Vote No on Issue 2” stoop to new low—)Compounding this error was Kasich’s arrogant comment that he didn’t see anything wrong with this tactic saying “It is fine” and shifting the blame to his opponents who originally used the commercial.
Be reasonable and support the hard-working middle class
Now Kasich has become the smiling, innocent-looking face urging people to vote “yes” on Issue 2 and appealing to state workers that he is merely asking they pay their fair share. He is pleading for everyone to be “reasonable”. As I previously stated, state workers already pay their fair share so now it looks like it is time for Gov. Kasich to be reasonable.
State workers are not the problem. They are concerned, hard-working individuals who don’t deserve the blame for the economic mess this state is in—neither do the nurses, police, firefighters, or teachers. These are the people who make up the hard-working middle class that is quickly disappearing from the American scene.
This legislation is just another effort to decimate the middle class. The politicians turned their backs on this important segment of society when they passed SB 5. It took away the bargaining powers for unions in their dealings with government employees. Strikes are banned and so is binding arbitration for police and firefighters. In the event of a “stonewall” during negotiations, this bill gives the governing body rights to implement its own last offer, with no recourse for the unions/workers. This sounds dictatorial to me. Would you like to be in a job where you have no say in your pay or working conditions?
Behind the scenes stakes
Much more is at stake with the passage or failure of Issue 2 than just what may happen to government and public employees. It could also have a huge impact on the future of a two-party system in the state of Ohio and Gov. Kasich’s future in politics. When this bill went through the Senate, even Republicans in the Republican controlled senate foresaw problems and the bill narrowly passed by a vote of 17-16, even though they controlled 23 of the 33 seats.
Blind PAC arms of the Republican Party are pumping millions of dollars into the passage of Issue 2. This is seen as not just as an attempt to break the unions but also an attempt to weaken the Democratic Party. Traditionally the Democratic Party has been associated with the workers and the Republican Party has been associated with big business. Many see this campaign to break unions not only here in Ohio but other states as an attempt to weaken the Democratic Party over-all. Dale Butland, a Columbus-based Democratic consultant, said many see the true motivation of this movement is to defund the Democratic Party and ensure a one-party rule….
Many agree that the world is not the same and changes need to be made. These are tough economic times and sacrifices are needed everywhere. However, when given the opportunity to voice their opinions and voluntarily work with management, the public workers have been very cooperative. They have given up over $1 billion dollars in pay and benefits over the last several years.
Be an educated voter
Don’t fall for their lies. Let the legislators know that Ohioans are proud, responsible, and well-informed voters. We won’t allow one party or the other to impose heavy-handed, dictatorial measures on the workers of this state. A lot is riding on your vote. Support those who are the backbone of our society and vote NO on Issue 2 tomorrow, November 8.
NOTE: This blog post was written several days ago but when I tried to post it to my site the day before Election Day my internet connection mysteriously quit. Before posting I visited my blog site and I attempted to retrieve several articles from the Columbus Dispatch archives to add their links to the bottom of my post to verify facts within this text. During this research process my computer slowed to a stop until I could no longer access the internet. Now, the day of voting, my connection is again mysteriously restored. Polls will be closing within the hour and although it is too late to possibly influence anyone’s vote I am still posting this entry. I feel it contains important information people should know regardless of the outcome of the voting. Was I personally sabotaged and shut down by someone disagreeing with my politics? (It has happened in the past.) Did I pick up a virus from one the sites I visited? Or, was it fate? You be the judge. I will conduct an investigation and if I ever find an answer I will keep you informed. If any other bloggers have had a similar experience I would like to know. We must protect free speech.
- Ohio Issue 2: GOP set for defeat over anti-union referendum (guardian.co.uk)
- It’s Time to Wake Up and Smell Election Day. Right Now. (esquire.com)
- Governor Kasich, we want a new bus driver (sdobbie46.wordpress.com)
- Opponents of “Vote No on Issue 2” stoop to new low (sdobbie46.wordpress.com)
- Ohio Governor Kasich’s Struggles Extend Beyond Election Day (swampland.time.com)