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
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
"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.
LOCAL AND NATIONAL ISSUES
The UE members raised local issues while pressing four main
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
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)
ACTION FOR JOBS
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
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