Ohio voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a referendum to repeal Senate Bill 5 (on the ballot as Issue 2), a controversial bill signed into law by Gov. John Kasich last spring. The bill was designed to silence the voices and strip away the collective bargaining rights of public workers.
With 99 percent of precincts reporting, voters rejected Issue 2, 61 percent to 39 percent.
After SB 5 became state law in March, activists across the state mounted a successful campaign to gather enough signatures to put the law on a referendum ballot. Voters came together and formed We are Ohio, a citizen-driven, community-based, bipartisan coalition to stop SB 5. NEA members played a critical role in We are Ohio’s success.
Activists left nothing to chance. Every day, they pounded the pavement, knocked on doors, called voters, showed up at volunteer centers, stuffed packets and enlisted the support of family, friends, colleagues and neighbors.
And with good reason. Out-of-state corporate leaders, political donors and extremist organizations and politicians flooded the state with millions of dollars and TV and radio ads to make SB 5 the model for the rest of the nation.
On Tuesday, however, Ohio voters made it clear they wanted to rid the state of the anti-worker law.
“Tonight, we are all Ohio,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel after Tuesday’s vote. “The good people of the Buckeye state sent an unequivocal message to those who play politics with the lives of teachers, nurses, and firefighters: we got your back. That’s because hard working families built the middle class. These are the people who teach our children and protect our communities and our country. This vote is a trumpeting reminder of America’s promise to its people and our fundamental rights to shape our democracy and create a brighter future for every American.”
“Policy makers behind Issue 2 must respond to the results of this election with fairness for public employees and commitment to safety and service toward our communities,” added Ohio Education Association President Patricia Frost-Brooks. “Ohio needs and deserves a full-time focus on jobs and the education of students for good jobs and careers.”