Ohio: We’re All In This Together

by Joseph Riedel

I have spent the last three Tuesdays at the Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, fighting to preserve collective bargaining rights for public sector workers. I’m doing this for many reasons. First, I am a union staff member whose organization represents thousands of public sector workers in Ohio. Secondly, I am a labor activist who wants to show solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Ohio. Thirdly, I am a taxpayer who knows that this is not about the budget, and that if the GOP is able to end collective bargaining in the public sector, they will not stop there. They will come after the private sector too.

What I’ve witnessed in Columbus over the last few weeks has been nothing short of amazing. Frankly, it’s quite different than what the media has portrayed it to be. This is to be expected. The media in our country is bought and paid for by the same people who are funding the efforts to end collective bargaining rights in Ohio and Wisconsin. The media has portrayed the demonstrations in Ohio as a small number of out-of-state union workers. The truth is that, unlike the tea party demonstrations, the overwhelming majority of the demonstrators in Columbus are Ohioans. They are coming from all corners of the state, and what the media has failed to report, is that many of them are not union members. They are simply citizens of Ohio who disapprove of what Governor Kasich and the GOP members in the Ohio State Legislature are doing.

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