People’s Parade Delivers 1.3 Million Signatures for Ohio S.B. 5 Citizens’ Veto
Cross-posted from the AFL-CIO Blog.
A People’s Parade with more than 6,000 Ohio workers, fires engines, a drum corps, bagpipes and a semi-truck full of more than a million signatures marks the latest stage in the citizens’ veto drive to repeal Gov. John Kasich’s (R) bill that eliminates the collective bargaining rights of more than 350,000 public employees.
The parade (click here for a short video) through downtown Columbus today delivered the 1.3 million signatures on repeal petitions to the Secretary of State’s office. Only 231,000 signatures were needed to put repeal on the November ballot. But the 10,000 We Are Ohio volunteers from all over the Buckeye State found overwhelming support for repeal and collected more than five times the number required.
We Are Ohio spokesperson Melissa Fazekas says, “We originally wanted to collect between 450,000 and 500,000 total signatures. We’ve blown way past that.”
Says Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga:
This unprecedented number is a record for any Ohio ballot initiative and shows that Ohioans are fed up with Gov. Kasich’s extreme partisan agenda. This is not just a referendum on Senate Bill 5; it is a referendum on Kasich and his political allies’ blatant assault on working families and the middle class.
Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, who joined the parade, says S.B. 5 is “a dangerous and destructive piece of legislation that would take away the rights of police officers, fire fighters, teachers and other public employees to bargain collectively.”
As mayor of Columbus, I have negotiated many contracts through the collective bargaining process with our unions. Through this process I have been able to negotiate fair contracts by working with our unions instead of busting them as Senate Bill 5 seeks to do.
In related collective bargaining news, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) bill that eliminates collective bargaining rights for public employees went into effect yesterday. But like Ohio working families, Wisconsinites are fighting back, too. They collected far more signatures than needed in six state Senate districts to trigger recall elections for Republican lawmakers who backed Walker’s assault on workers’ rights. The elections are set for July and August.