QUOLKE’S CORNER 3/13/11

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QUOLKE’S CORNER #89
FROM GUTHRIE & DR. KING TO KASICH & THE REPUBLICANS – WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?
 
Woody Guthrie once said “Some will rob you with a six gun, some will do it with a fountain pen.” We all watched in dismay earlier this week as Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin General Assembly robbed the public workers of their voice when signing union busting, middle class destroying legislation into law.
 
In Ohio we wait to see if Governor Kasich will have the opportunity to rob our workers, our middle class, our families, our communities, and our unions with a stroke of his pen. Right now Senate Bill 5 is on a roller coaster ride through the Ohio General Assembly. The bill sits now in the Ohio House of Representatives as the Commerce and Labor Committee hears testimony from those that support and those that oppose SB 5. Remember the moves to replace committee members in the Senate right before the legislation was voted out of committee? Similar moves have already been made in the Ohio House as Republican House leadership has replaced members on the Commerce and Labor Committee that will hear the SB 5 testimony. Originally, Speaker of the Ohio House William Batchelder of Medina promised 3 weeks of testimony in committee. Last week he told the Columbus Dispatch that he meant 3 weeks worth of hearings in a two week span, meaning that a vote might happen as early as the week of March 14th. Then as of Friday, Gongwer News Service reported the House Commerce and Labor Committee will hear testimony this week and not have a vote for at least another week. Stay tuned. This should be an interesting week as political maneuvering seems not to just take place daily, but hourly!
 
Nevertheless, before the vote on SB 5 takes place in the Ohio House, Governor Kasich will drop his biennial budget on Tuesday, March 15.  Everyone throughout the state is braced for deep cuts to education (and for that matter to Medicaid, to those who care for the elderly, to mental health agencies, to aid for children, and to local municipalities). In response, Good Jobs-Strong Communities have planned rallies across the state to respond to the Kasich budget. The Rallies are scheduled to start anywhere between 4PM and 6PM. So, how is Kasich playing games with his budget and the public? Last week Kasich announced plans to present his budget to lawmakers and the press in the afternoon, followed by a Town Hall in Columbus for the public. Now, the latest talk is that Governor Kasich plans to wait until the 6PM Town Hall event on Tuesday to present his budget. Is this the transparency in government Kasich promised Ohio? Is replacing Committee members opposed to SB 5 in the Senate and House prior to a vote the type of new leadership promised to Ohio? And, is locking Ohioan’s out of the State Capital during this process the type of inclusion we can expect? The answer is simple…NO. We need a united and strong voice to get through the locked doors and locked minds in Columbus. 
 
So what can…no what must CTU members do? First, make a presence Tuesday, March 15th at one of the Good Jobs Strong Communities rallies across the state. CTU is focusing on the Strongsville location, but there are locations throughout Ohio and one in your neighborhood.   Join your union brothers and sisters, elected leaders, community leaders, and working families at one of the locations below. 
 
 
Event Information
One Union, One Voice Rally
5:00pm.
Strongsville City Commons
(Near water tower)
Pearl Rd. and Rte 82 
There will be Rallies all over Ohio on March 15th at the same time
Here are a few others in the area which you may choose to attend
instead of Strongsville if you live nearby:
 
Jefferson
East Jefferson St. and South Market; 5 p.m.; RSVP: 440-415-2925
 
 
Oberlin
Corner of N. Main St. and W. Lorain St.; 5 p.m.; RSVP: 440-867-8509
 
 
Akron
Tri County Labor Council, 720 Wolf Ledges; 4:30 p.m.; RSVP: 330-612-5573
 
 
 
This is not a local issue or a state of Ohio issue. This is a national issue. Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana are just ground zero for the battles being fought to preserve workers rights, save the middle class, defend families and defend civil rights. Yes this is a civil rights issue. April 4 marks the 43rd anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Dr. King was in Memphis supporting striking sanitation workers the night that he was shot. Dr. King said “History is a great teacher. Now everyone knows that the labor movement did not diminish the strength of the nation but enlarged it. By raising the living standards of millions, labor miraculously created a market for industry and lifted the whole nation to undreamed of levels of production. Those who attack labor forget these simple truths, but history remembers them.”
 
We are at a critical moment in Ohio. We cannot forget what those in the labor movement and in the civil rights movement fought so long and so hard for. Please join with me and all our CTU members in the coming weeks and months to once again make the voice of working men and women in Ohio be heard and be heard loudly now and for future generations.
 
In Union and Solidarity,
 
David