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Will unions party like it’s 2010 or 2011?

Published: Sun, October 28, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Last November, Ohio’s public and private sector unions flexed their political muscles and stopped a collective bargaining reform law from taking effect. The defeat of State Issue 2, which was designed to kill Senate Bill 5, was a major setback for Republican Gov. John Kasich and the Republican controlled General Assembly. It was a significant victory for labor.

By contrast, in the November 2010 general election, union members in heavily Democratic regions like the Mahoning Valley failed to show up in sufficient numbers to give Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland the margin he needed to win a second four-year term.

The result was a takeover by Republicans of every statewide office and the Legislature.

Thus the question: Will President Obama be the beneficiary of the unions’ political power that was on display last year, or will he suffer the same fate as Strickland?

To be sure, the turnout this year will surpass the 49.22 percent of the registered voters who went to the polls in 2010. But, whether the union members follow their leaders and vote for the president on Nov. 6 remains a great mystery.

The election two years ago illustrated the growing disenchantment with Obama on the part of traditional Democratic voters: blue-collar workers (mostly white males) and teachers.


A long-time union leader in the Mahoning Valley provided some insight into what occurred:

A week before the November 2010 election, he had gone door-to-door to urge his members to go to the polls and vote for Strickland and other Democrats on the ballot. The reaction from a significant number led him to believe that the Democratic ticket was in trouble. He wasn’t wrong.

But what surprised the union leader more than anything else was the virulent opposition to Obama.

Why was he surprised? Because these were workers at General Motors’ Lordstown plant who owed their jobs to the president.

But it wasn’t just the factory workers who turned their backs on a governor who had worked with the Obama administration to ensure that the auto industry in Ohio remained strong.

Ohio’s teachers, many of whom would have been unemployed had Obama and the Democrats not come up with the $787 billion stimulus program, failed to show their appreciation. The GOP has made the stimulus a major campaign issue — despite the fact that Republican members of Congress have secured hundreds of millions of dollars for their districts.

The hypocrisy was detailed in last week’s column.

As for the schoolteachers, it has been said that half of those who went to the polls in 2010 ignored the fact that the Democrats had gone to bat for them and voted for Kasich and the rest of the Republican ticket.

But like the auto workers at GM Lordstown plant and other unionists, the teachers soon came to regret their political backstabbing.

Last year, with the GOP firmly in control in Columbus, Kasich and company rammed through Senate Bill 5, an assault on public employees unions. It was designed to strip government workers of many of the collective bargaining rights they had enjoyed for decades.

The unions, along with the Ohio Democratic Party, launched a petition drive to give Ohioans the chance to decide whether SB5, which was signed into law by the governor, should remain on the books.

The campaign was a stunning success: 2,202,404 Ohioans voted against the collective bargaining reform law; 1,373,724 for it.

Big-time debt

The unions, especially in the Mahoning Valley, have a big-time debt to pay the Democrats.

They gambled by either staying home in 2010 or supporting the Republicans and learned a valuable political lesson.

Monday’s visit to the Valley by the president and one of his most important allies in this election, former President Bill Clinton, is an opportunity for unionists to do some soul searching. If they are turned off by Obama, they should certainly pay attention to Clinton, who during his eight years in office had labor’s back.

And if they are under any illusions that a Romney presidency won’t be so bad, the unions should look at what is transpiring in Columbus. On the agenda next year: A right-to-work bill.


1saddad(654 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

I predict that by the end of November there will be a heck of a lot more Americans recognizing the idiocy of black box voting.

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2Letstryagain(218 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Neither the Democrats, nor Republicans, owe any poliitical party anything, Mr. deSouza.

The General Motors workers do not owe their jobs to the President.

There is no logic suggesting that union members who are turned off by Obama should pay attention to Clinton because he had the uninons' backs for eight years. Obama, an "amateur" according to President Clinton is the one that will be in office if elected, not Clinton.

Instead of preaching to your readers that they owe someone, how about preaching to your readers that they are owed. Republican, Democrat, Independent whatever... we do not owe the people that seek office as a public servant. The elected officials owe us. The parties that support the candidates and office holders owe us.

Finally, since you repeated it, I will as well. There is no hypocrisy if a candidate seeks support for a constituent in a program he/she was previously opposed to, or even voted against. The representative has a duty to assist the constituent in the program.

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3chuck_carney(499 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Bertrum favors voters actings as automatons (merely towing the union, party line) and government providing stimulus money to cure all the nation's woes. He fails to recognize the ever burdgeoning deficit the possible 2nd Obama administration would incur ($20 trillion). The will cripple our country worse than the Great depression

I have not read one article on Solyndra or A123 bankruptcy involving taxpayer money. Why were these monies subordinated to funds of other lenders? Only the taxpayer will lose.

I have not read one article about Obama's debacle in Bengzhai, ie his administration's failure to provide military assistance to save the 4 dead in Libya.

Bertrum it is clear you are rooting for Obama, only you have moved from the sidelines onto the field as a a "political playa.'

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4candystriper(575 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

unions represent full time employment...the jobs that are available are part time

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5Education_Voter(1155 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

The only power working people have is in strength of numbers. If their leaders cannot get them to deliver on an endorsement, then quite simply, politicians will lose interest in workers' interest.
Americans today seem to have little notion of how to support their peers for the benefit of everyone.
As for other groups pulling them away from their own interests...
you will be kicking yourself if you follow their advice, just as Republican-voting teachers are kicking themselves today.
When you are out of a job, and your benefits are reduced what is your pastor going to offer you? A spaghetti dinner? How will your white-supremicist buddies going to pump up your ego when you are the one on the street corner?

Teachers suffering losses under Kasich today tell me they voted for him because he was against abortion rights. They ignored the facts that there wasn't a single abortion provider for counties around them. What effect would an Ohio governor have on abortion rights anyway?

Vote in your own interest, workers. That's what Wall Street, Mr. Romney's peers, do.

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6redeye1(5612 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

The union members do not owe BO ( Blame Others) anything.But they do owe the hard working tax paying public a big thank you because without them they would not have been bailed out . You see they are working because I work hard and pay my taxes. So i just want to know, when the general public will get that . BO can't give any money if there isn't any. Oh wait that's alll he has been doing all along. OOPS sorry!.

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7Spiderlegs(161 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

The high levels of government debt that we have today are not sustainable. We all lose if they continue, even if we are in a union. The leadership of my union is short sighted and irrelevant in today's economic environment.

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8jojuggie(1701 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Abortion = execution of babies.

We All Began Life as a Stem Cell
By Dr. Chuck McGowen

If you happen to believe that stem cells are insignificant single celled creatures like the amoeba, think again; that is unless you happen to consider yourself as being insignificant. When one of your father’s sperm impregnated your mother’s ovum (egg), a soul was added from God above and your humanity began; aside from your size and the number of cells making up your body, your being contained every bit of genetic information that you would be having until the day you die.

The sperm contained 23 of your father’s 46 chromosomes and the ovum 23 of your mother’s 46 chromosomes. If you are a male the Y sex chromosome was contributed and if you are a female dad contributed an X sex chromosome; men being XY and women being XX relative to those particular DNA and gene baring chromosomes. The other 44 chromosomes that make up your humanity (known as autosomes) determined such uniquely “you” characteristics as skin, hair and eye color, height, bone structure, intelligence capacity, vocal characteristics, athletic ability, etc.

Within seconds after the conception of your fully human life the chromosomes doubled and split and that first cell divided; with each new cell having the same genetic component of 46 chromosomes. By the 15th day of cell replication you reached the stage of human development known as the blastocyst. At the point your cell lines began to organize and differentiate into three individual cell layers; the endoderm, mesoderm and ectoderm.

It is at this point that embryonic stem cell researchers

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