On this day in 1886
350,000 workers staged a nationwide work stoppage to demand the adoption of a standard eight-hour workday. Forty thousand workers struck in Chicago, Illinois; ten thousand struck in New York; eleven thousand struck in Detroit, Michigan. As many as thirty-two thousand workers struck in Cincinnati, Ohio, although some of these workers had been out on strike for several months before May 1.
The purpose of the May Day Strike was to bring pressure on employers and state governments to create an eight-hour workday. During this period, workers commonly spent twelve or more hours of each day at work. Unions, especially the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada -- the predecessor of the American Federation of Labor, encouraged workers to strike on May 1, 1886, to demonstrate the need for an eight-hour day.
Today, Ohio Republican law makers want to go back to a time that predates 1886, by introducing yet more union busting legislation. State Rep. Ron Maag (R) and State Rep. Kristina Roegner (R) are introducing so called "right to work" bills. These bills (Maag's targets public sector workers, while Roegner's target private sectors workers) come less than 2 years after Ohioans rejected SB5, the previous anti-worker legislation aimed at reducing the ability of workers to negotiate safe and fair working conditions, benefits and pay.
Here's a copy of the letter we obtained announcing the introduction of the bill, and a request for legislators to add their names to it.
The introduction of these bills come suspiciously timed - just a day after Governor Kasich met with the tea party funders, the Koch Brothers - who are big proponents of "right to work" legislation and union busting in general.
Phones and electronic devices were banned from some panels, as Koch strategists detailed next year’s electoral battlegrounds and donors committed contributions to particular states or projects.
At least a half-dozen rising Republican stars were also in attendance. They included Dr. Ben Carson, a Baltimore neurosurgeon who has quickly developed a following among grass-roots conservatives, and several members of the Tea Party wing: Govs. Nikki R. Haley of South Carolina and John R. Kasich of Ohio, along with Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
The Tea Party's efforts to push anti-worker legislation has been on-going in Ohio for more than 2 years. Their efforts to collect signatures to place anti-worker legislation on the ballot, by their own accounts has fallen way short
Mr. Littleton said it would be a “long shot” for the group to gather the roughly 380,000 signatures of registered voters needed by July 3, the deadline to qualify for the November ballot.
The effort is a long shot because it has no popular support. The We Are Ohio signature collection effort to repeal the last anti-worker legislation that the Tea Party supported, collected over 1.3 million signatures in just a few months. The current group of people supporting this anti-worker legislation are even more unsympathetic. For just how ugly and bigoted the Tea Party backers of "right to work" are, see here.
In Opposition to this anti-worker effort.
A number of people have come out quickly against this latest anti-worker effort. Ed FitzGerald, candidate for Governor
“I stood against these attacks on our everyday heroes and Ohio’s middle class when I voted against Governor Kasich’s Senate Bill 5,” he said. “As governor, I promise to stand up for the working families in Ohio, and stand behind the middle class that keeps our economy strong.”
David Pepper, candidate for Ohio Attorney General
"I oppose so-called 'right to work' because it hurts families and working people and destroys our middle class. This is a direct attack on our law enforcement officers who keep our communities safe. For these same reasons, I worked with the thousands of volunteers who fought back against Senate Bill 5, the unfair, unsafe attack on us all that voters rejected in 2011.
"But this is also a time when we should be asking all public officials – where do you stand on so-called 'right to work'. Working families and first responders deserve to know, are you with them or against them?"
Rep. Connie Pillich, rumored candidate for Ohio Treasurer
38 people who died on the job last year were remembered Monday at the Cincinnati region Workers Memorial, sponsored by the UAW and AFL-CIO Labor Council. Today, the Ohio GOP introduces legislation that could increase on-the-job deaths by 36%. The So-Called “Right to Work” bills could eliminate workplace safety measures fought for and obtained by labor unions. Dangerous.
Rep. Chris Redfern, Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party
“Here we go again. Apparently Governor Kasich has forgotten what happened the last time he and his Republican allies launched a broadside against the rights of Ohio workers. Ohio was paralyzed and our hard-earned economic recovery, which began a year before Kasich took office, stalled.
Just as SB 5 was soundly rejected by Ohio voters, we expect this unnecessary sideshow – which will do nothing to create more good-paying jobs – to fail, and we intend to hold Governor Kasich accountable for choosing to focus on distractions over Ohio’s middle class. If Kasich doesn’t want this attack on working families to move, he should say so immediately.”
Join the Future opposes these attacks on working people and we call upon our supporters to send a message to their legislators informing them that this legislation is wrong, unfair and unsafe.