Trumka heads to Ohio before referendum vote

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will be in Ohio Monday for labor’s final push before a key statewide vote on collective bargaining rights.

The head of the nation’s largest labor federation is expected at several events throughout the state to help get out the vote to repeal legislation, known as Senate Bill 5, which would curb public workers’ collective bargaining rights, according to an AFL-CIO official. Trumka’s presence in the Buckeye State before the vote Tuesday will garner even more national attention to what has become a crucial test of unions’ political strength heading into the 2012 elections.

Trumka is expected at a number of events in Cleveland and Columbus where he will help with canvassing, phone-banking and rallying union members to help get out the vote before polls close on Tuesday.

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Passed in March this year, Senate Bill 5 would limit the collective bargaining rights of Ohio’s public workers. Labor fiercely opposed the legislation and gathered more than enough signatures for a voter’s referendum to repeal the bill.

Ohio’s airwaves have been filled with ads for and against repeal of the bill, listed on the ballot as Issue 2. Conservative-leaning groups including Americans for Prosperity and Citizens United have been active in the state and are urging voters not to repeal Senate Bill 5.


The referendum, however, has helped motivate labor in a key swing state for the 2012 elections. That could bode well for Democrats and President Obama as they head out on the campaign trail next year.

Ohio union leaders have said that they are confident though not certain of victory come Tuesday.

Polling has been favoring labor in the contest. A poll released Sunday by Public Policy Polling showed that 59 percent of Ohio voters were for repeal of Senate Bill 5, compared to 36 percent who were against repeal.