With the assistance of SMART Transportation Division Ohio State Legislative Director Stu Gardner, Transportation Division Local 378 at Cleveland held a “call to action” labor rally Oct. 20 at Sheet Metal Division Local 33’s union hall and training center in Parma, Ohio.
With a turnout of approximately 45 members and Transportation Division office staff, Gardner opened the rally by reminding all that the upcoming election was about “voting their paychecks.”
“Ordinary Americans need to stand up and say enough! Enough against the excessive, great moneyed interests and power-brokers that currently wield enormous power in our country with the help of the politicians in government that big money supports,” Gardner said. “It is time that we take that stand and start getting out the vote by encouraging your families, co-workers and friends to vote, vote early, vote absentee or vote on election day.”
Gardner also cautioned those in attendance that right-to-work legislation is not dead in Ohio, despite S.B. 5 having been voted down by Ohioans by a 62-38 percent margin in 2012.
“Remember that S.B. 5 was just a few short years ago, and that labor and a vast majority of Ohio’s citizens rallied to defeat that bill in a referendum vote,” Gardner said. “Don’t be fooled into thinking that right-to-work is a dead issue in this state. It is not. H.B. 151 and H.B. 152 are currently waiting for a committee hearing and the lame duck session of the legislature to move forward this year.”
H.B. 151 would “prohibit any requirement that employees of private employers join or pay dues to any employee organization and to establish civil and criminal penalties against employers who violate that prohibition.”
H.B. 152 would “remove any requirement under the Public Employees Collective Bargaining Law that public employees join or pay dues to any employee organization and to prohibit public employers from requiring public employees to join or pay dues to any employee organization.”
The rally featured a number of political candidates who introduced themselves to the membership and asked for their support and their votes on Election Day.
“Listen to our guest speakers and candidates telling you their reasons for running for office. What is important to them should be important to you and your families,” Gardner said.
The first candidate to speak was Ohio State Rep. Connie Pillich, who is seeking the office of state treasurer in a race against incumbent Josh Mandel. Mandel began establishing a U.S. Senate seat campaign just months after being elected in 2012, a campaign that fizzled quickly. Pillich pointed out that she has the experience and financial background to point Ohio in the right direction.
Other candidates at the rally included : Kenny Yuko, candidate for the 25th District of the Ohio Senate; Cleveland Councilman Martin Sweeney, candidate for House of Representatives District 14; Cleveland Heights Councilwoman Janine Boyd, candidate for House of Representatives District 9; Sen. Michael Skindell, candidate for Senate District 23; State Rep. Nickie Antonio, candidate for House of Representatives District 13; Rep. Nicholas Celebrezze, candidate for House of Representatives District 15, and Rep. John Patrick Carney, candidate for Ohio state auditor.
“After the rally, do some research and educate yourself about these candidates, and see why the Ohio State Legislative Board endorses and supports them,” Gardner finished.
Ohio State Legislative Director Stu Gardner introduces State Rep. Connie Pillich, Democratic candidate for Ohio state treasurer. Cleveland City Councilman Martin Sweeney is seated at left.
Pictured, from left, are Carney, Celebrezze, Yuko, Antonio, Local 378 President Jeffrey Brandow, Gardner, Assistant State Legislative Director David Otten and Skindell.