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Successful Political
Action Day In Ohio
Gets Message Across


Ohio UE activists, District 7 Pres. Joyce Clayborne and Dir. of Org. Bob Kingsley take the union’s message to Ohio’s capitol.

From General Electric plants and college campuses, school districts, the Ohio Turnpike, a plastics factory and foundry, UE members from around Ohio gathered in the state capitol to bring their union’s message to state legislators.

"People liked it, and it paid off," said District Seven Pres. Joyce Clayborne.

The first UE Political Action Day in the Buckeye State in many years saw 16 UE activists representing nine locals meet with eight state representatives and 14 senators on Feb. 17.


The UE members raised local issues while pressing four main points:

  • Action to save manufacturing jobs. With 20,000 good manufacturing jobs in Ohio lost to NAFTA, and tens of thousands more being lost to low-wage "competition" around the world, lawmakers should investigate this crisis and propose solutions.

  • Stop privatization attacks on public-sector pensions. The Ohio Legislature should reject efforts to privatize the pension plans of Ohio’s public-sector workforce.

  • Fairness on the Ohio Turnpike. The Ohio Turnpike Commission routinely hires new employees off the street for full-time toll collector positions, refusing to promote dedicated part-time workers already on the job.

  • Expand the Family and Medical Leave Act. The Ohio Legislature should join the several states moving ahead with plans to allow the payment of unemployment benefits for bona fide Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) situations.


UE members easily brushed aside legislators’ objections that job loss and NAFTA are federal issues. They pointed out state lawmakers can work with unions to keep jobs in Ohio, conduct an investigation of runaway shops and help keep plants open with a "Retain Jobs in Ohio" fund.

With the Ametek/Westchester Plastics plant for sale, Jeff Van Meter and Virgil Kennedy of Local 766 made a strong case for state assistance in facilitating the sale when they visited the offices of the representative and senator representing Wapakoneta.

Leonard King spoke on behalf of the members of Local 707 at the GE service shop in Cleveland, who do not wish to see their jobs farmed out. Many lawmakers were surprised to learn that the Turnpike Commission refuses to promote part-timer workers and expressed their unhappiness with this unfairness.


UE members also spoke on behalf of a bill to promote gender equity in pay, and brought copies of the bill with them on their visits. The bill is co-sponsored by UE ally, Sen. C.J. Prentiss. Political Action Day participants met in the morning in the senator’s office; her legislative assistant, George Boaz, explained the legislative process. UE Political Action Dir. Chris Townsend reviewed the issues.

The day ended with a tour of the state capitol building.

Participants came from long-established locals in the GE chain as well as the district’s two newest locals, Local 741, Highland School District, and Local 799, Delaware Schools. "Sometimes people can feel intimidated by their lawmakers," commented Pres. Clayborne. "But they came back more confident. They said they were glad they came and that they’d come back next year."

Participants were encouraged to set up meetings with lawmakers back home. The Local 792 members from Wright State College in Dayton did just that. They made an appointment to have their state representative meet with them in the college cafeteria, where they work, at the end of march.

UE News - 03/00

Home -> UE News -> 2000 Archives -> Article

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