Word on the Street: Working Three Jobs, Waiting to Be Laid Off

Jihad Seifullah — Columbus, Ohio

Even before taking office, Ohio’s Governor Kasich made his attacks on working families clear: he announced his opposition to working people having a voice on the job, and to standards that maintain good wages and quality construction for building projects. He is currently cramming RobsOhio (aka Jobs Ohio) through the Ohio legislature, an initiative that would create a slippery extra-governmental entity to dole out corporate welfare while avoiding disclosure rules… a corporate lobbyists dream. At the same time, he has openly threatened anyone opposing his agenda, saying “If you’re not on the bus, we will run over you with the bus. And I’m not kidding.”

Governor Kasich is deliberately creating a highly partisan climate of fear for working people in the state, and we are seeing that reflected in our conversations in the community. As he has said, if you speak up, he will run you over. We have seen a significant number of workers who are upset about Governor Kasich’s agenda, but don’t want to discuss it publicly out of fear of retaliation. Here’s one particularly stark example: just the other evening I was speaking with a civil engineer who was very displeased with the agenda that Governor Kasich is moving forward. In fact, it’s very likely that he may be laid off due to Kasich’s decision to send $400 million for rail infrastructure and jobs back to the federal government of which had previously been approved for Ohio. To add salt to the wound, the member also mentioned that he is currently working three jobs. He said “I’m a civil engineer and I have to work three jobs, did you hear me…I’m a civil engineer.” This worker, like many others, prefers to remain anonymous because of the threats that have been made.

So we’ll make the point for them: the middle class is under attack and it is eroding away. Governor Kasich is helping that process along by fostering corporate cronyism while lowering living standards for working families in Ohio. He has threatened anyone who stands up to him. When it is too dangerous to stand up alone, it is all the more important for all of us to stand up together.