Thursday, August 18, 2011

Governor Kaisch sounds retreat on SB 5 [VIDEO]


Ohio citizens have had enough of Governor John Kasich and his anti-worker legislation.  They gathered well over the signatures required to repeal SB 5…actually, nearly a 1.3 million…four times what they needed…and put the union-stripping bill to a referendum to be voted on in November.

Well if this didn’t get Kasich’s attention, something did. 

Perhaps it was the most recent recall elections in Wisconsin, where Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker had two of his senators plucked from office.  Or perhaps it was the most recent Quinnipiac poll showing a 24 point margin in favor of repealing the new law limiting collective bargaining in Ohio.

In a hastily called press conference Wednesday, Kasich called for new negotiations on SB-5…hoping to keep it from the ballot in November.

"It is never too late to reach an agreement if there are people that are willing to reach it," Kasich said.  "Today we sent a letter, actually inviting them to talk. We think that would be a good thing for all of us to sit down.”

In exchange for these “talks,” Kasich is asking that voters and liberal groups drop the referendum in November.

Something tells me that won’t happen…something Rachel Maddow agrees with.

“If it looked like I was slated to lose an election by 24 points, I’d probably try to get that election cancelled too,” Maddow said.

The reaction from working Ohioans and “We are Ohio,” the organization leading the effort to repeal this law, has been…as Rachel puts it…tough.  Senate Democratic Leader Capri Cafaro concurs with this sentiment.

“The time to negotiate was during the legislative process, not 197 days after [the bill] was introduced… Unfortunately, it has taken too long for the governor and GOP leaders to acknowledge they overreached,” Cafaro said.

Spokeswoman for “We are Ohio” Melissa Fazekas was pleased the governor and legislators that supported this bill finally took notice but indicated in a statement after the press conference that they wouldn’t be backing down any time soon.

“We’re glad that Governor Kasich and the other politicians who passed SB 5 are finally admitting this is a flawed bill,” Fazekas said.  “Just like the bill was flawed, this approach to a compromise is flawed as well.  Our message is clear.  These same politicians who passed this law could repeal it and not thwart the will of the people.  They should either repeal the entire bill or support our efforts and encourage a no vote on Issue 2.”

But one must wonder what took the governor so long to realize that this was a terrible piece of legislation.

“We had thousands of people show up at the Statehouse to tell the Republicans this is a bad bill.  They didn’t listen.  Not only didn’t they listen, they locked the doors to the Statehouse; they didn’t want people coming in to talk to them,” Ohio General Assembly Minority Leader Armond Budish said.  “They didn’t listen when the Democrats stood up on the floor of the senate and the house and objected to this bill.  They didn’t listen when 1.3 million people in Ohio signed petitions expressing their disgust with Senate Bill 5.” 

Many attribute the retreat, not only to the 1.3 million signatures and thousands that protested, but to The People’s response to a number of union stripping bills across the nation.  Kelly Steeler of “We are Wisconsin” thinks it’s nary a coincidence that Kasich would make this announcement on the heels of the Wisconsin recall elections.

“Last night ended a historic period in Wisconsin politics where Scott Walker paid an enormous political price – losing his working majority in the state Senate and warning himself sky-high disapproval numbers – for his attacks on middle class working families,” Steele said.  “If John Kasich’s decision to backpedal on his attacks on working Ohioans the very next day is a pure coincidence, it is a pretty stunning one.”

One must also wonder if conservative governors and legislators are taking note of what is happening across the country.

The People are tired of the attacks on teachers, firefighters, nurses, police officers…the attacks on the middle class and labor.  They are tired of the corporate welfare, and they are tired of shouldering the burden of the recession on their shoulders alone!

What have the corporates shared?  What have the corporates done to create jobs despite ten years of tax cuts?
My favorite graph

We need unions now more than ever.  Wages and benefits continue to shrink…the average increase in income last year was $0.58 a week.  In fact, wage increases haven’t been this slow since the Great Depression…yet productivity is at record levels along with CEO pay and salaries.

Do conservatives really think now is the time to end collective bargaining?  So they can have even lower wages and benefits…and have even less disposable income?  Can someone tell me how that is helping the recession…along with the lack of job growth? 

How are we going to jump start the economy if consumers can’t spend?

Good think for working Ohioans, because of the referendum, the bill has been frozen and can’t take effect until after the vote.  Democrats expect a full repeal of the law, and now is not the time to back down or negotiate…not only because they have Republicans running, but because it would be better for Ohio and the nation as well.

The smartest thing to do for Kasich and his conservative legislators is realize that they have overreached and should repeal the law themselves before they take any more heat from Ohio voters.

“Governor Kasich and the Republicans should give us a fresh start,” Budish said.  “They should apologize for demonizing and attacking teachers, and firefighters, and police officers, and nurses for the last six months;  they should repeal Senate Bill 5; they should start the process now the way it should have been done inviting all of the people into the room.”   

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