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PORTSIDE  October 2011, Week 5

PORTSIDE October 2011, Week 5

Subject:

People Power Winning in Ohio

From:

Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

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Date:

Sat, 29 Oct 2011 00:33:07 -0400

Content-Type:

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text/plain (122 lines)

People Power Winning in Ohio: Anti-Worker Law Repeal
Favored

By Isaiah J. Poole
October 25, 2011 - 3:53pm ET
http://ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2011104325/people-power-winning-ohio-anti-worker-law-repeal-favored

The conservative campaign against worker rights is
losing in Ohio, according to a Quinnipiac University
poll released today.

Support for the repeal of SB 5, the law pushed by Ohio
Gov. John Kasich that strips the bargaining rights of
public workers, is up to 57 percent, according to the
poll, with 32 percent supporting keeping the anti-worker
law in place. That's evidence that the grassroots
campaign to overturn the law has momentum: a month ago,
51 percent supported repeal, and 38 percent supported
keeping the law in place.

The support for the repeal effort is particularly
noteworthy given the forces arrayed against it. Today
Truthout posted a special report on the effort against
the referendum, which is fueled by literally untold
millions of dollars in corporate cash.

A lot of that cash, according to author Mike Ludwig, is
being funneled through the Republican Governors
Association, which was a major contributor to Kasich's
successful 2010 election. "The RGA is using Make Ohio
Great, a nonprofit group, to run ads featuring Kasich
discussing elements of Senate Bill 5, without explicitly
mentioning the ballot initiative. This ensures that the
group can avoid revealing its finances to state
officials. Make Ohio Great and the RGA share the same
address in Washington, DC, but the RGA is also keeping
its finances in the dark," Ludwig writes.

We Are Ohio, the grassroots, union-backed organization
leading the repeal effort, has tracked down some of the
opposition spending. "We Are Ohio told media outlets
earlier this month that Building a Better Ohio and Make
Ohio Great spent $2.8 million and $1.2 million on
television ads respectively. We Are Ohio outspent both
with $5.4 million, but a spokesperson told Truthout to
'expect to see the floodgates open up from out-of-state
special interests as we get closer and closer to
election day,'" Ludwig writes.

Kasich, as the Truthout article points out, is an
alumnus of the American Legislative Exchange Council,
the arch-conservative organization that is working to
impose its right-wing blueprint for limited, corporate-
centric government on states and localities nationwide.
Among ALEC's chief funders are the billionaire Koch
brothers as well as Bayer, Pfizer, Wal-Mart, Exxon-Mobil
and Coca-Cola.

These and other corporations have several conduits
through which they can pour cash in a last-minute effort
to defeat the repeal effort while evading public
exposure, at least during the campaign. A super PAC,
Stop Public Unions Now!, is registered with the Federal
Election Commission and has aired ads featuring Kasich
in support of SB 5, Ludwig reports.

"Other out-of-state groups defending Senate Bill 5 are
more visible than SPUN!. Americans for Prosperity, a
conservative group funded in part by the Koch brothers,
has held town halls across Ohio to convince voters that
Senate Bill 5 is good for Ohio. The Arlington, Virginia-
based Alliance for America's Future, founded by a former
Ohio GOP operative and former Vice President Dick
Cheney's daughter Mary Cheney, is sending out millions
of mailers in support of Senate Bill 5, according to
media reports," Ludwig writes.

On the other hand, the onslaught of corporate cash may
well backfire, as is Kasich's own high-handedness. What
the poll shows is that other than doctrinaire
Republicans, most Ohio voters support the basic rights
of public workers. Of the poll respondents, 61 percent
support the right of public employees to strike, 56
percent oppose limits on the ability of public employees
to bargain over health care, and 51 percent oppose
eliminating seniority as the sole factor when
determining layoffs. And a majority of nonunion
households support repeal of SB 5, just as an do an
overwhelming percentage of union households.

Many voters will no doubt be swayed by the common sense
statement of conservative talk-show host Bill
Cunningham, who said that he is supporting the repeal
because "from my perspective, those affected by
governmental decisions need to have a place at the
bargaining table to determine the outcome of what's
being discussed."

At the Take Back the American Dream conference, a
session was devoted to building on the successes of the
Wisconsin push-back against Gov. Scott Walker's assault
on workers rights. The We Are Ohio movement has a hard
fight ahead, but it is taking good advantage of the
momentum that began in Wisconsin.

___________________________________________

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