Archive for November 9th, 2011

In Other Election News

Voters in Mississippi voted no on an amendment that declared that life begins at conception, as if such a thing were up for a vote instead of a biological fact.

In related news, Iowa voters passed an amendment that says that the sun orbits the earth.

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Republicans have always been quick to denounce the “politics of envy” and the “politics of resentment” whenever workers stand up to them. Is there is anything more hilarious than a millionaire whining about “class warfare” ?

But they certainly do not refrain from invoking envy and resentment when it suits their ends. Here in Ohio, the Republican governor has played worker envy to try and drum up support for SB5, the bill enacted last year which severely limits collective bargaining rights for Ohio public employee unions, and which the unions succeeded in bringing to a popular vote. Those nasty union members, you see, have pensions! And bargaining rights! And health benefits that you don’t have! In his last rally in favor of the bill, Governor Kasich tried this again: he cited a single working mother, who has no pension or health care benefits. Why should she pay for public employees getting things that she does not have? Not that Kasich would favor insurance and pensions for her, mind you. He wants all workers to be equally deprived.

But Ohio voters would have none of it. Instead of falling for the ruse, they reasoned “Hey, my dad had a pension. That would be nice. And he was in a union; I remember how that saved his job that time he had a hostile foreman. I wish I had a union.” There was envy, to be sure: workers in Ohio envy union members. But they don’t resent them; they resent those who deny them such benefits.

Yesterday Ohio voters, who turned out in near record numbers for an off year election, rejected SB5 by a margin of 61%.

This is but the latest shot in the arm for the newly revitalized labor movement. As only 14% of Ohioans are union members, this shows widespread support for labor unions among workers. Let’s hope we can translate this mandate into increased union organizing.

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