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    News and Updates


November 8, 2011

Statement from UFCW International President Joe Hansen on Election Results in Ohio

“The repeal of Senate Bill 5 is bigger than just one law or one state. It sends a message to all those who would try to balance the budget on the backs of our workers: you do so at your own peril. It shows that the right to bargain collectively for a better life is fundamental—not some perk that can be stripped away on a whim. The votes cast today in Columbus and Cleveland and everywhere in between will have aftershocks in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Washington D.C.

“America’s working families want a good job that pays a fair wage, decent affordable health care, access to a quality education for their kids, and a little money left in the bank so they can retire with dignity. They also understand that the economic mess we find ourselves in today was caused by Wall Street, not Main Street. They know the guilty parties are speculators and predatory lenders, not teachers and first responders. Extreme politicians like Governor Kasich are waging war on the middle class.

“Today’s vote shows that we are fighting back. And better yet, we are winning. I am proud of the UFCW and its members for their great work in Ohio. We understand that an attack on one worker—whether public or private sector, union or non-union—is an attack on all workers. We are proud to be part of diverse coalition of activists, including the entire labor movement, who dedicated countless hours to the fight for workers’ rights in Ohio.

“Tonight we know that America’s middle class will no longer sit idly by. The silent majority is silent no more. Every elected official that would do us harm should take notice.”

November 7, 2011

I Made A Difference in Ohio:

Wow. What an amazing eight months. From gathering signatures to helping fill out absentee applications to registering new voters, I have had the experience of a lifetime I will never forget, and I will be forever grateful. I made a difference by helping to give voters a voice. I came to them and put a face on the issue. Now, no matter what the outcome, they have been able to use their voices to speak up for good jobs. To speak up for Ohio workers.

I registered my grandson, his best friends and a young lady in high school just waiting for the opportunity to be able to vote. The future of Ohio will be okay in the hands of these young people. Registered another eighteen year old young woman who was balancing an infant on her hip while taking care of her handicapped mother in a poverty stricken neighborhood. Went away with the thought she was going to improve her corner of the world, starting with her signature.

I was in Circleville the last day of voter registration and talked to a seventy year old first time voter who had a date with her son to go to the polls. My high school government teacher came to a drive thru petition signing and never had to leave his car. I’ve had conversations with people from 18 to 98, some I will never forget. So many stories.

The new friends I’ve met, again – wow. My partner in this venture has literally picked me up, dusted me off and inspired me to go on. We can just look at each other and burst out laughing. We are starting to finish each others sentences, a little scary. And lastly I am inspired by my union leadership and will be FOREVER grateful that I can be involved in this effort to help working families across Ohio.

I made a difference.

Juanita Smith is a UFCW member and works as a meatcutter in Chillicothe, Ohio.

October 19, 2011

UFCW Local 75 Members Join Teamsters, Public Employees, and Faith Leaders in Toledo and Cincinnati to Rally for Good Jobs

On October 11, nearly 800 UFCW Local 75 members turned out for a joint rally with Teamsters Joint Council 26. Then, on October 12 in Toledo, almost 300 Local 75 members turned out, joining members of Teamsters Local 20.

Local 75 members took the time to come out for these rallies because they know how important it is to fight for good jobs in their neighborhoods – and that includes fighting to defeat Issue 2, Ohio’s harmful anti-worker law. Both rallies featured local firefighters and faith leaders, and Local 75 was proud to be joined by Teamsters International President James P. Hoffa.

“Good jobs grow our communities. Good jobs allow parents to put dinner on the table, make a home, and to send their kids to college,” said UFCW Local 75 President Lennie Wyatt. “Politicians shouldn’t tell us that good jobs are destroying our neighborhoods; good jobs are what make safe, vibrant communities for all of us.” To see more photos from the rallies, visit Local 75 on Facebook.

June 30, 2011

1,298,301 Ohioans Want to Repeal SB5

On June 29, 2011, UFCW members from all around Ohio joined a crowd of thousands in downtown Columbus to deliver 1,298,301 signatures to repeal SB 5 to the Ohio Secretary of State office. We Are Ohio volunteers collected more signatures than any other petition drive in Ohio history. The citizen-driven petition drive exceeded the 3% threshold and collected at least 6%, or double the amount required by Ohio law in all 88 counties.

UFCW Local 75 members stand with a firefighter supporter as they march to turn in over a million signatures for the repeal of SB5 in Ohio.

June 24, 2011

Sudden Rush

Sudden rush

June 22, 2011

The House rushed to approve a flawed photo ID requirement for Ohio voters. Now Republican senators are doing the same

In March, Republicans in charge of the Ohio House hustled to passage misguided legislation requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls. The expectation was, the state Senate would take a more deliberative approach, even put off action until the fall. Then, on Tuesday morning, Keith Faber, the chairman of the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee, delivered the big surprise: The photo ID proposal would be folded into a larger elections bill headed for a committee vote in the afternoon and a floor vote today.

Faber argued, essentially, the timing is right, the elections bill headed for passage. Of course, he and his colleagues have known about the long-in-the-works elections proposal for months. If anything, the photo ID bill offended so many because it did not receive the ample airing of the overhaul legislation.

Now, the Senate simply has incorporated the flawed language of the House bill, the requirement that voters present a driver’s license, passport or other government-issued identification card with a photograph. Sound fairly reasonable? Consider that many people with disabilities do not have such identification. One estimate holds that one-quarter of African-Americans and one-fifth of Ohioans over age 65 do not have a photo ID.

Remember, Republican lawmakers already addressed the identification requirement a few years ago, many voters now showing a photo ID at the polls, or a copy of a current utility bill, paycheck or other government document that contains the voter’s name and address. All of this was done in the name of preventing voter fraud, though the problem didn’t exist then — and it still does not.

Jon Husted, the secretary of state, has explained, reasonably, that he could support the photo ID requirement as long as voters have other options for proving their identity at the polls. He now has been stiffed by his fellow Republicans.

The thinking of the majority is curious. Republicans have fanned concern for the false problem of voter fraud, the party of less bureaucracy adding new hoops. In doing so, they have opened the way to real concerns, registered voters facing undue difficulties casting ballots, disenfranchisement, in a word.

Not surprisingly, many of the affected voters are more likely to side with Democratic candidates. The photo ID proposal fits into the pattern of Republican majorities in other states. More, it reflects subtler changes in the larger elections bill, broadening the field for voter error and disqualification, leaving ballots vulnerable to mistakes by poll workers, excessively narrowing the time for early voting.

Republicans carp about the sharp elbows of Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat and the previous secretary of state. Yet she sought a truly inclusive effort to repair the shortcomings in Ohio elections. Now that process has devolved, Republicans inviting the impression of a party in power looking to serve first its own agenda, not the larger interest of the state.