It was a major victory for workers everywhere when Ohio voters overturned a divisive anti-union law.
Local 1245 members were on the ground in Ohio campaigning right up to the Nov. 8 vote. They knocked on doors and explained to fellow union members why it was vitally important to go to the polls and overturn Senate Bill 5, a bill passed by the Ohio legislature earlier this year that sought to greatly restricted collective bargaining rights for workers.
The five Local 1245 members participating in the campaign were Jammi Angeles, Donchele Soper , Jennifer Gray, and Ean Charles, all from PG&E, along with Rick Thompson from Wellington Energy. The union deployed this campaign team to Ohio on Oct. 20, part of Local 1245’s program to give young workers on-the-ground experience in defending workers’ rights against political attack.
Jennifer Gray sent in this first-hand report of the successful campaign:
“Over 500 union members and community allies gathered at the Plumbers and Pipefitters Hall in Columbus, Ohio on October 21, 2011 to map out the plan of action to fight back against anti union bill Senate Bill 5. A variety of public leaders spoke to a cheering crowd including former Gov. Ted Strickland and Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga. The day consisted of role playing and educating to help prepare volunteers to engage with voters at the door.
Our Local 1245 delegation was assigned to Canton, OH, which is known for having very strong union density. Our team worked very hard by canvassing Stark County and the outlying townships to have one-on-one conversations with the local community to explain that SB 5 is unfair, unsafe and hurts us all.
We encouraged early voting and assisted with helping voters complete the Absentee Ballot applications that were not mailed out due to state budget constraints.
The last four days of the campaign were the most crucial, known as GOTV (Get Out The Vote). In 114 specific areas of Canton the plan was to saturate and visit each household twice in the four day period, which resulted in over 10,000 doors being knocked.
Ohioans took to the polls Nov. 8 and spoke clearly by repealing SB 5, the attack on collective bargaining. This battle was won because we all stood together. We won because the people of Ohio–union and non-union, Democrat and Republican–came together in solidarity.”
For Gray and Angeles, the Ohio victory represents the third successful out-of-state campaign this year, prompting Local 1245 Organizer Fred Ross to call them “our super solidarity campaign organizers.” Both women were part of the campaign team that staved off terrible anti-worker legislation in Florida, and then spent weeks on the ground in Wisconsin in a bid to recall state legislators who had voted to take away the bargaining rights of unions. Two legislators were successfully recalled.
California Victories, Too
Local 1245 celebrated other important victory on Nov. 8.
In San Francisco, the union-supporeted Proposition C pension reform passed with 68% of the vote, while Proposition D, which sought to take away pension benefits unilaterally, failed spectacularly.
In Modesto, Local 1245 backed the successful campaign of Larry Byrd for a seat on the board of the Modesto Irrigation District. Byrd sailed to a big victory, with 58% of the vote against opponent John Duarte.
More photos of the Local 1245 team in Ohio appear below: