Ohioans for Workplace Freedom, supporters of a so-called “right to work” law in Ohio reached a major milestone in October: they have collected 100,000 signatures to get the measure on the November 2014 ballot.
Here’s the thing: they need at least 385,000 signatures to get on the ballot, and they’ll also want to far exceed that number to account for duplicates or invalid signatures
Here’s the other thing: the group has been collecting signatures for since February 2012. That’s 20 months.
As the Ohio political observers at Plunderbund point out, at this rate they would need “another 40 months” to qualify for the ballot. “The longer the process takes, the more likely they are to receive duplicate signatures,” writes Plunderbund’s Joseph Mismas, “At this rate, Ohioans could vote to make Hillary Clinton the next president of the United States before we ever get a chance to vote on another anti-union measure in Ohio.”
Let’s compare this effort with a similar project two years ago.
In 2011, Working America and allies sought to repeal Senate Bill 5, a measure pushed by Gov. John Kasich and the Republican legislature to strip collective bargaining rights from Ohio public workers.
That bill passed on March 30, 2011. Only three months later, on June 29, 2011, pro-worker groups delivered nearly 1.3 million signatures to Columbus. Over 915,000 were found to be valid by the Secretary of State’s office. In November, two years ago this month, Ohioans voted overwhelmingly to repeal Senate Bill 5.
The fact is, the majority of Ohioans are looking for policies improve their lives: investments in education, strengthening the safety net, and creating good, family-sustaining jobs. In every state they have been enacted, “right to work” laws result in lower wages, fewer people with health insurance, more people living in poverty, and more workplace injuries and fatalities.
2011’s massive rejection of attacks on workers and the 2012 defeat of anti-worker candidates like Josh Mandel and Mitt Romney haven’t phased the folks at Ohioans for Workplace Freedom. But if losing elections and lack of interest in their narrow ideological agenda doesn’t cause them to change course, maybe their balance sheets will: according to latest reports, the group has spent over $118,187 on petition circulators since July. Do they really want to spend that kind of cash on a lost cause for another 40 months?