If the United States acted forcefully to end currency manipulation by China and other nations—and there is legislation to provide the government the tools to do so—it could create as many as 5.8 million jobs (40% in manufacturing) and reduce the nation’s trade deficit by as much as 72.5%, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).
Currency manipulation is the largest single cause of the U.S. trade deficit, and the Chinese government is the world’s biggest currency manipulator. It deliberately keeps the value of its currency artificially low and that artificially raises the price of U.S. exports to China and suppresses the price of Chinese imports into the United States. This artificial price advantage is one of many pull factors that encourages U.S. businesses to shut down operations here and manufacture in China instead. Says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka:
U.S. workers can compete with anyone in the world, but they cannot compete successfully on a lopsided playing field. [Currency manipulation] is a major contributing factor in our lopsided trade relationship with China. Meanwhile, U.S. manufacturing companies and workers bear the brunt of these unfair policies.
The EPI report finds that:
- Eliminating currency manipulation would reduce the U.S. trade deficit by $200 billion in three years under a “low-impact” scenario and $500 billion under a “high-impact scenario.” This would increase annual U.S. GDP by between $288 billion and $720 billion (between 2.0% and 4.9%).
- The reduction of U.S. trade deficits and expansion of U.S. GDP would create 2.3 million to 5.8 million jobs, reducing the U.S. jobs deficit by between 28.8% and 72.5%.
- About 40% of the jobs gained would be in manufacturing, which would gain between 891,500 and 2,337,300 jobs. Agriculture also would gain 246,800 to 486,100 jobs, heavily affecting some rural areas.
Read the full EPI report here.
Bipartisan legislation in Congress (H.R. 1267 and S. 1114) would crack down on currency exchange rate manipulation and hold countries that manipulate their currencies accountable. Trumka says:
We call on Congress to fight on the side of American workers and domestic manufacturers and farmers to put an end to currency manipulation now.
While China is the largest currency manipulator, other nations do so, too. Japan, which is one the 12 TPP nations, (China is not involved) has been accused of weakening the value of the yen to benefit its auto industry.
Currently Japan exports some 130 cars to the United States for every car that U.S. automakers export to Japan. One of the major reason for that imbalance is currency manipulation says the UAW.
As a consequence of Japanese government currency intervention, in a market such as the United States, Japanese imports have seen several thousand dollars in effective subsidies while, at the same time, exports from the United States to Japan have seen several thousand dollars in added costs….The impact of these policies undermines American auto exports and American jobs and the investment they support.
Yesterday, Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), both sponsors of S. 1114, said that without currency manipulation rules as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade and investment agreement and other pending trade agreements, Congress is unlikely to approve the trade bills. Says Brown:
The trade agenda is not moving until currency is part of it.
The Obama administration’s is pushing to have the TPP agreement considered under Fast Track rules in Congress.
Under the Fast Track process, Congress can only vote yes or no on the full agreement. It cannot amend or improve the bill.
Sign the petition to Congress to stop bad Fast Track trade deals over the next four years, including the TPP.
Also, if you haven’t signed a letter for a better TPP, do it here.
Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW
Tags: china, Jobs, Michigan, Ohio, Sandy Levin, Sherrod Brown, tpp, trade, uaw
In the past few weeks, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) has shown a lot of love and respect for the 11 Illinois residents who recently competed for the United States at the Winter Olympic Games. Check out his Facebook page. But, as many people who have left their comments there say, it’s time for Kirk to show some of the same respect and compassion for the state’s more than 99,000 jobless workers who lost their emergency unemployment benefits in December.
Call Kirk at 845-809-4509 if you live in Illinois and tell him the same thing.
You see, like the more than 1.7 million unemployed workers across the country, many jobless Illinois workers are no long receiving unemployment benefits because Republicans in Congress allowed the federal emergency unemployment benefits program to expire Dec. 31, and Kirk was one of the majority of Republicans who voted against renewing the program in January and again this month.
But, as soon as Thursday, Kirk and other Republicans will have a chance to do the right thing and vote on a bill to restore the emergency unemployment benefits program that provides a lifeline to workers after their state benefits run out—usually 26 weeks, but now less than that in many states, thanks to Republican state lawmakers.
Kirk—who has indicated he might support a restoration—is a key vote, along with Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Dan Coats (R-Ind.). If you live in Illinois, Ohio or Indiana, please call Kirk, Portman or Coats today at 845-809-4509 and tell them hundreds of thousands of their constituents and more than 1.7 million Americans need their votes. No matter where you live, please call your senators using the number above and tell them the same thing. Another 1.9 million Americans will out of benefits by June if the program is not restored.
Here are just a few examples of what Illinois voters are telling Kirk on his Facebook page:
Annie Kiser: You have MANY Republican constituents out of work 26+ weeks. THEY VOTE and your “no” on #EUC will cost you, Mr. Kirk #RENEWUI
Annemarie Purcell Diola: Please push for the extended unemployment benefits as soon as possible. My unemployment ran out the 3rd week of December, where I was approved for 10 weeks of Tier 1 EUC, was only able to collect 1 week of it. I have worked my entire life and followed the rules, but my family is suffering!
Michael Greenberger: And A LOT of veterans were unemployed when you PULLED THE RUG OUT FROM UNDER THEM. Why don’t you support jobless people?
Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW
Tags: Dan Coats, Illinois, Indiana, Mark Kirk, Ohio, olympics, Rob Portman, unemployment insurance
Last week, the Ohio House of Representatives pushed through two voter suppression bills, previously passed by the state Senate, that would reduce early voting and restrict absentee ballot access. Gov. John Kasich (R) signed the bills into law Friday night. Supporters claim the bills were necessary to prevent voter fraud and to save public resources. Reality says otherwise.
As has been found in other states, claims of voter fraud are largely baseless and almost certainly not widespread enough to affect the outcome of elections or warrant such restrictive bills that would prevent eligible voters from casting their ballot. AFL-CIO’s Michael Gillis describes the situation in Ohio: “Voter fraud in Ohio has been found to be practically non-existent. Cases of voter fraud investigated represented less than five one-thousandths of 1 percent of the 5.6 million ballots cast in Ohio in the 2012 election. Even then, most of those cases were dismissed.”
Gillis notes that the legislation will make it more difficult for students, seniors, people of color and other constituencies to vote. The Toledo Blade agreed with this assessment when it opposed the bills late last year:
But the bill is a solution in search of a problem, because the “evidence” advocates cite of voting irregularities is more anecdotal than systemic. Eliminating the dual activity will simply make it more cumbersome for new voters to exercise their franchise.
The “saving money” argument also fails to pass a basic logic test. Gillis continues:
And as for the “limited public resources” argument, can we no longer afford the most basic democratic functions of our government? The answer to this question should be obvious, if not to the Ohio GOP. One Republican legislator went as far as to say that opposition to these vote suppression bills is “intellectually lazy and highly offensive.” They pretend to be guardians of the ballot when indeed they are undermining the democratic process and are trampling on the most basic civil right we have as citizens.
The Ohio Voter Rights Coalition goes into greater detail with the flaws of these two bills in a letter that asked Kasich to veto the bills.
For many decades, women and [people of color] fought for the right to equally participate in the franchise. Ohio had been on the right path to continuing to provide access to fair elections. These bills are taking us in the wrong direction, yet you, Governor, can stand up for voters and for democracy by vetoing S.B. 205 and S.B. 238 to prevent the erection of barriers to the ballot box and more importantly the establishment of procedures that undoubtedly will cost qualified voters the right to have their votes counted. We hope we can count on your support to expand, rather than reduce, voter rights.
It’s hard to imagine what Kasich’s real motivations might be in preventing Democratic-leaning voters from casting their ballot. Gillis lays it out:
The irony that the first election that these laws will impact is the Governor’s re-election bid is not lost on Ohioans. A Quinnipiac poll this week showed Governor Kasich polling at just 43 percent and has been losing ground to his challenger, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald. Given his shriveling popularity in the state, will the governor have the political courage to stand up for the voting rights of those he intends to govern or will he cynically narrow voting rights in his own political interest? Ohioans are watching and so should all who are interested in a functional and unfettered democracy.
The new laws will be in effect before ballots begin being cast in the 2014 governor’s race.
Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW
Tags: John Kasich, Ohio, voting rights
Politico Magazine released a comprehensive report comparing all 50 states using 14 different indicators of quality of life. In their ranking, the five bottom states (Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Alabama) are all so-called “right to work” states.
Four out of five of the states with the highest quality of living, according to the study, are free bargaining states: New Hampshire, Minnesota, Vermont, and Massachusetts.
The study confirmed something that more and more working Americans are learning every day: “right to work” laws are wrong for everyone.
Quick review: “Right to work” laws require unions to extend their services to all employees in a bargaining unit, whether or not they pay dues. By making dues optional, “right to work” laws force unions to spend more resources on collecting dues than on advocating for their members–both at the workplace and in the political arena. It’s a roundabout method of de-funding unions that has been instituted in 24 states.
The Politico Magazine study used rankings from the Census Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the FBI, and data on math and reading scores, average income, life expectancy, crime, home ownership, infant mortality, and more.
As 2014 kicks off with legislators and big-money donors pushing “right to work” and other collective bargaining restrictions in–at the very least–Missouri, Oregon, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, it’s important to make it very clear what effects these laws actually have, versus what their proponents claim they have.
A few effects of “right to work” are not disputed by its proponents. The key sponsors of the collective bargaining restrictions Missouri, for instance, openly admit that wages would go down if the law is passed. Indeed, wages in “right to work” states are 3.2 percent lower that in free bargaining states. Essentially, it’s like the average worker is paying an annual $1,500 fee for living in a “right to work” state. (Other reports have found “right to work” states have higher poverty rates, fewer workers with employer-based health insurance, and higher rates of workplace injuries and fatalities.)
But when you combine income with a host of other factors, as the Politico Magazine ranking does, the picture doesn’t get better for “right to work” states. Overall, 15 “right to work” states rank in the bottom 20.
The Politico Magazine ranking is not the definitive scientific report on quality of life. But it does confirm yet again that in places where workers’ right to organize is deceptively circumvented and wages decrease, other important life-quality factors decrease as well.
As legislators push these laws across the country, we should consistently require proof to back up their claims. The actual numbers don’t look too good for them.
Tags: Alabama, ALEC, arkansas, louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Right to Work, Rights At Work, Tennessee, Vermont, wages
A year ago, in one of the most shocking reversals in the state’s history, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a “right to work” bill into law behind closed doors as more than 12,000 protesters raged outside.
Right wing groups crowed, saying union restrictions in the home of the auto industry meant the labor movement was on its last legs. They talked about which states would go next.
And then, nothing.
Well, not nothing. But what anti-worker pundits said would be a domino effect was more like a cricket effect. In 2013, no state passed a “right to work” law.
Incorrectly-named “right to work” laws put restrictions on contracts union workers can make with employers. They ban fair share clauses which require that workers pay dues to have the protection of the union. Unions are left in the position of providing services without being able to fund those services, and they starve.
“Right to work” laws have nothing to do with freedom. They are simply a tactic to defund unions and weaken the ability of workers to advocate for themselves. And it shows: states with “right to work” laws have lower wages, higher poverty rates, and more workplace injuries and fatalities than free bargaining states.
In 2013, workers didn’t stand for it.
In Missouri, where Republicans controlled supermajorities in both the state House and Senate, some legislators pursued a “paycheck deception” bill, which restricts unions’ ability to make political contributions. Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka) called it a step toward a “right to work law.” Based heavily on an ALEC model bill, paycheck deception moved swiftly through Republican-lead committees.
But workers, union and non-union (including hundreds of Working America members), made their voices heard. Emails, letters, and phone calls flooded legislative offices in Jefferson City. The bill passed the Senate after an 8-hour Democratic filibuster, but House legislators were getting skittish. Bill proponents were having a hard time answering simple questions about why additional restrictions on union dues were needed. Support for the bill dwindled with each test vote.
“Paycheck deception” passed the House by a narrower than expected margin, and Speaker Jones prepared to move on to “right to work.” But Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed paycheck deception, calling it unnecessary. By the September veto session, too many moderate Republicans had abandoned the effort, and the bill died outright.
Did Republicans get the message? Absolutely not. In December special session centered around tax incentives for Boeing, a small group tried and failed to insert “right to work” language. ALEC member Rep. Eric Burlison (R-Springfield) called it “a good opportunity to begin that fight” ahead of 2014.
In Ohio, the anti-union effort has centered around gathering petitions to get “right to work” on the 2014 ballot. As we know, you need to get a certain number of signatures to get an issue on the ballot. For Ohio, that number is 385,000, and you always want extra signatures in case some are validated.
The Tea Party group Ohioans for Workplace Freedom started circulating petitions in February 2012. After 20 months, they announced they have collected 100,000 signatures.
At this rate, as Ohio bloggers at Plunderbund noted, the anti-union group would need 40 m0re months to put “right to work” on the ballot. And since they’ve already burned through $118,000 in paid petition gatherers, chances are they’d run out of money first.
Let’s compare that with 2011, when Gov. John Kasich and Republicans in the legislative rammed through the union-busting Senate Bill 5. The bill passed on March 30. On June 29, after only 3 months, We Are Ohio delivered 1.3 million signatures to the Secretary of State to get a repeal of SB 5 on the ballot. In November, SB 5 was repealed by 60 percent of voters.
What’s going on here? What the Tea Party and the anti-union forces in Ohio don’t get is that once you get past a small group of billionaires and right-wing ideologues, there is no desire to restrict collective bargaining in Ohio. None. People are looking for good jobs, affordable health care, and decent schools to send their kids.
Meanwhile, the 2011 battle over Senate Bill 5, largely ignored by the national media, still reverberates throughout the Buckeye State. Treasurer Josh Mandel, a Republican supporter of SB 5, lost a Senate bid despite more than $19 million in outside aide. Mitt Romney haplessly flip-flopped on SB 5 and consistently delivered an anti-union message, lost in Ohio in part because of union members of all political stripes voting for his opponent. And in 2013, SB 5 supporter Toledo Mayor Mike Bell was ousted, while a Tea Party-backed pension-cutting amendment was rejected in Cincinnati by a 57-point margin.
In Oregon, the story is even shorter. An Portland attorney named Jill Gibson Odell is sponsoring a “right to work” initiative in her state. Odell is excited about the “national money to be had” to assist her campaign, so she’s not even pretending “right to work” is something Oregonians themselves want. In 2013, little to no progress was made on getting the issue on the ballot, and popular Gov. John Kitzhaber said he will publicly oppose it. Meanwhile, workers in Portland got paid sick days, and a statewide sick leave ordinance is expected to pass in 2014.
What to expect in 2014? Well, as the AP reports, the main targets for “right to work” proponents are Missouri, Ohio, and Oregon, showing that these folks have learned nothing from the past year. While their efforts stall, Americans of all political persuasions are starting to support minimum wage increases, sick leave, wage theft protections, and progressive tax codes in increasing numbers.
Working America will be vigilant to mobilize against any “right to work” measure, wherever it crops up. But make no mistake: Michigan wasn’t the start of a domino effect. It was a wake up call. And outside the right-wing think tank bubble, American workers are fully awake.
Photo by detroitfreepress on Instagram
Tags: ALEC, Eric Burlison, Jay Nixon, Jobs, John Kasich, john kitzhaber, Josh Mandel, Michigan, Mike Bell, Missouri, Mitt Romney, Ohio, Oregon, Paid Sick Days, paycheck deception, Right to Work, Rights At Work, SB5, Tim Jones
Another great win emerges from autoworkers and industry collaboration. General Motors Co. (GM) will invest more than $1.3 billion to upgrade and expand five manufacturing plants in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana that also will create or retain more than 1,000 jobs, GM and the UAWannounced Monday.
UAW Vice President Joe Ashton, who represents GM workers, calls the investments a “win for American workers.” He says:
The UAW is proud to be a part of this successful collaboration with GM that has helped rebuild the nation’s economy, created good paying, union jobs in communities across the country and brought manufacturing that was moved overseas back to the United States. This is further proof that collective bargaining works.
In 2011, when the UAW negotiated new contracts with the Big Three automakers, the union won commitments from General Motors, Ford and Chrysler to invest more than $27.3 billion in their plants, creating 20,000 new jobs at the three automakers and thousands more in the industries that are part of the auto manufacturing supply chain.
At the ceremony at GM’s Flint, Mich., truck assembly plant announcing the investment, GM North America President Mark Reuss told the cheering workers:
These investments are a sign of our confidence in our workforce and our UAW partners that have given and tried so hard and in our vehicles and the continued demand for excellence in each one of these products. You earned this.
Since the auto industry was on the verge of collapse during the Bush recession, car makers and the UAW have worked closely in forging a partnership that was instrumental in securing the financing in 2008 and 2009 that kept the industry alive. Working together not only kept the auto industry afloat and saved tens of thousands of jobs, the negotiated investments like Monday’s GM announcement have opened the doors to good middle-class jobs.
Ashton notes that while income disparity grows in the country and the middle class declines, collective bargaining has created a ladder to the middle class for millions of America’s workers.
This announcement today is further proof that collaboration and collective bargaining works and will continue to be the way that we rebuild America’s middle class.
At the Flint ceremony, Barry Campbell, chairman of UAW Local 598, said he was “proud to pay my union dues, and this is just a great example why.”
GM’s nearly $1.3 billion investment includes:
- $600 million in Flint Assembly for facility upgrades.
- $493.4 million in Romulus (Mich.) Powertrain Operations.
- $121 million in Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly for a logistics optimization center.
- $30.6 million in Toledo Transmission Operations for increased capacity for an existing six-speed transmission.
- $29.2 million in Bedford (Ind.) Castings, which includes $22.6 million to produce components for transmissions.
For more on the success of the labor-management partnerships in the auto industry, read Labor Secretary Thomas Perez’s recent article on the UAW and Ford working together. Perez says that is just one example of how:
Across the country, creative labor-management partnerships are saving and creating jobs, keeping businesses competitive, growing the middle class and helping more Americans climb ladders of opportunity.
Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW
Tags: aflcio, auto workers, general motos, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, uaw
At 9:40 am, Monday, November 25th, Working America members and activists will gather at a press conference to urge Ohio State Rep. Rick Perales (R-Beaver Creek) to support a permanent expansion of Medicaid in Ohio. While the Ohio controlling board extended Medicaid through July 2015, legislative action will be needed to make the expansion permanent.
The Medicaid expansion is critical to Ohio’s economic health. It is projected to create approximately 25,000 jobs in Ohio, and would cover approximately 300,000 Ohioans by 2016 if it is extended. Because of the federal money that the expansion draws into the state, it will also save Ohio taxpayers over $1.8 billion.
“Expanding Medicaid is the only policy that makes sense,” said Emma Godsey, a community organizer with Working America. “It will help cover uninsured Ohioans, create jobs and save the state money. Failing to make the expansion permanent is a grave mistake, and it would hurt all of us.”
“My family will be directly affected by Medicaid expansion, and we need to know that we can count on it,” said Shonda Sneed, a Working America member. “Medicaid expansion will help keep my family balanced, and will help us balance the state budget, too.”
WHAT: Press conference urging extension of Medicaid expansion
WHO: Working America organizers, members and allies
WHERE: Beaver Creek City Hall Council Chambers, 1368 Research Drive, Beaver Creek, OH
WHEN: 9:40 am November 25th
Contact: Emma Godsey: 614-376-9272
Tags: Affordable Care Act, Health Care, John Kasich, Medicaid, Ohio, Rick Perales
The photo above comes from the Walmart on Atlantic Boulevard in Canton, Ohio.
The bins aren’t to collect cans for a food pantry somewhere else in the city. They are meant to collect food for Walmart associates themselves.
Here’s some context. The average Walmart sale associate makes $8.81 per hour, according to the independent market research group IBISWorld. That translates into $15,576 a year if the associate works a full-time schedule of 34 hours a week. But that’s actually pegging it quite high, as many associates have highly erratic or meager work schedules that don’t allow them anywhere close to full-time status.
For a three-person household (two parents and a child, for instance), the 2013 federal poverty level is $19,530.
When their paychecks don’t cut it, many associates turn to public assistance to make up the difference. Walmart’s low wages and insufficient scheduling are behind the enormous costs to the taxpayer incurred by each store. One Walmart Supercenter costs taxpayers $900,000 in Medicaid, SNAP, housing assistance, and other forms of public assistance.
But beyond the numbers are the associates themselves, juggling unpredictable schedules and light paychecks, who see the food bins as a sign that the company sees their struggle as the rule, not the exception:
An employee at the Canton store wasn’t feeling that Walmart was looking out for her when she went to her locker more than two weeks ago and discovered the food drive containers. To her, the gesture was proof the company acknowledged many of its employees were struggling, but also proof it was not willing to substantively address their plight.
The employee said she didn’t want to use her name for fear of being fired. In a dozen years working at the company, she had never seen a food drive for employees, which she described as “demoralizing” and “kind of depressing”.
An analysis by Fortune shows that Walmart can afford to give its employees a 50 percent raise without hurting its bottom line. But low wages are only one part of the widespread culture of disrespect, retaliation, and indifference Walmart shows its employees.
More than ever before, associates are standing up to this culture, and we’re standing with them. On November 29, 2013, protests are planned at Walmart stores across the country, and all are welcome to stand in solidarity with associates.
Walmart is the nation’s largest private employer. They have set the standard for an entire generation of business practices. Whether or not we shop there, what they do at their company affects all of us.
Visit BlackFridayProtests.org to find an event near you.
Tags: black friday, Health Care, Medicaid, minimum wage, Ohio, retail, Rights At Work, Walmart
An overhaul of Cincinnati’s pension system backed by the Tea Party was thoroughly crushed on Tuesday. Cincinnati voters rejected the charter amendment, known as Issue 4, by a 57-point margin.
Issue 4 was placed on the ballot by a private group known as the Cincinnati for Pension Reform Committee. It would have required the city to pay off its $872 million unfunded liability in the current pension system within 10 years, or find cost savings or new revenue elsewhere to make up the difference.
Making up that huge gap, exacerbated by the 2008 financial crisis, is nearly impossible in 10 years. That’s the point: Issue 4 was a barely concealed attempt to force cuts to public services in Cincinnati, and generally pit the city’s citizens against the workers who make it run.
The city is already taking steps to address the $872 million liability in a number of ways–and as with most cities, the public workers themselves are bearing the brunt. Issue 4 would have put those changes on steroids, and would have lead to either tax increases or cuts to public safety and city services: closed firehouses, slower emergency response times, and staffing shortages when we need help the most.
It’s no wonder then that opposing Issue 4 united unlikely allies: the Chamber of Commerce, AFSCME, firefighters, and the editorial board of the right-leaning Cincinnati Enquirer. “Today’s vote will be heard beyond Cincinnati and sends a message for those on the ideological extremes who think it is ok to impose their agenda on an entire city,” said Peter Linden of AFSCME Ohio Council 8, “Had this passed, outside money and political extremists would have cost Cincinnati taxpayers more money, with less services.”
It’s been two years since Ohio voters of all political stripes overturned Gov. John Kasich’s Senate Bill 5, which stripped collective bargaining from over 300,000 public workers. It’s been one year since Ohio voters chose pro-worker Senator Sherrod Brown over the Tea Party-affiliated Josh Mandel. Since that time, the effort to get a so-called “right to work” on the 2014 Ohio ballot has faltered, collecting less than a third of the signatures needed in 20 months.
It’s time that the corporate-backed anti-worker forces in Ohio get it through their heads that Ohioans are interested in more jobs and a stronger economy; not fewer rights at work, fewer public services, and attacks on the workers who are already making the most sacrifices.
Tags: afscme, Chamber of Commerce, cincinnati, Josh Mandel, Ohio, public workers, Right to Work, SB5, secure retirement, Sherrod Brown
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?
Tags: Ohio, Right to Work, Rights At Work, SB5