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.
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
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
David Pepper, candidate for Ohio Attorney General
"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
Rep. Chris Redfern, Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party
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.