WASHINGTON, DC – – The 2.1 million members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) stand in solidarity with the citizens of Ohio, including SEIU members in the state and the more than 300,000 nurses, firefighters, police officers and other public servants in celebrating the decisive defeat of Issue 2 which would have allowed the unsafe and unfair Senate Bill 5 to endanger and compromise Ohio families.
“Tonight, all over the nation, the 99 percent–firefighters, teachers, nurses, bus drivers, snowplow drivers, bridge inspectors and social workers–are cheering because in Ohio, working people sent a message loud and clear that they will not be easy prey for extremist politicians who put political ideology above the best interests of working people,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry.
“Contrary to what some politicians said, Senate Bill 5 was never about the money,” said Pam Mets, a registered nurse with the Ohio Department of Health. “It was about Gov. Kasich’s revenge on working people. Many Ohioans, including the elderly, sick and disabled, would have paid an awful price had Issue 2/Senate Bill 5 passed. The defeat of this destructive bill is a great victory for those most in need of quality services and all Ohioans.”
By exercising the right to a citizens’ veto, Ohioans rejected the reckless measure, which would have increased classroom sizes; made it harder for police officers; firefighters and other public service workers to fight for critical safety equipment; worsened Ohio’s nursing shortage and made it illegal for teachers to advocate for Ohio children by taking away their voice to negotiate for issues such as asbestos removal and more officers in schools.
“I voted for Gov. Kasich and felt betrayed when he came right out of the gate on the attack against nurses like me,” said Connie Daily of Mount Vernon, Ohio. “It really ticked me off that this bill said that I didn’t have a right to talk about patient safety and working conditions, so I started volunteering and talking to any and everybody who would listen and fight against Issue 2.”
“For every candidate who thinks the people who tend to the sick, protect our communities, teach our children, and run into burning buildings will be easy targets; think again,” SEIU President Henry added. “In the streets of Ohio and states across the country, people are standing together to say: No More.”