Unions push for big turnout in Ohio
Ohio AFL-CIO Facebook page

“I’ve stopped calling this the most important election in our lifetime,” stated USW President Leo Gerard at a big union rally this week in Cleveland.  “It’s the most important election in our nation’s lifetime!”

Gerard was in Cleveland, with AFSCME President Lee Sanders, driving voter turnout for union members, their families, and communities.  The rally was held at the huge USW, Local 979 union hall, representing thousands of workers at Arcel Metals, a mill that was saved from closure by the united efforts of Steelworkers union, other unions, community groups and allies, led by former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

“Just a couple things you need to know, you need to make sure everyone you know and care for knows is that, while Donald Trump talks of bringing jobs home, everything he produces with his businesses is being done overseas, in low wage nations like South Korea, Thailand, Bangladesh and El Salvador.  While the whole nation has agreed that we need a raise in the minimum wage, Donald Trump says we shouldn’t even have one, and that ‘you make too much!’

“If he wanted to bring jobs home, he could be doing that anytime, just by bringing his business back to our nation!  We know this guy,” Gerard stated.  “We know what he and other corrupt billionaires have done to steal our pensions, health care.  He’s turned stealing retiree’s benefits and destroying our communities into an art form!  When he says that ‘bankruptcy law has been very lucrative,’ this is what he’s talking about!”

Urging steelworkers to help defeat Trump and elect Hillary Clinton, Gerard said that he “couldn’t believe that union workers would elect the most anti-union, most openly racist, misogynist, homophobic, openly corrupt candidate for that office in our nation’s history!”

Most recent polling seemed to support Gerard’s claim.  Major media polls over the past week, reflecting organized labor’s ‘get out the vote’ effort and the powerful tapes of numerous women claiming sexual abuse by Trump, showed general, overall support for Trump declining quickly and Clinton’s poll numbers rising in the state.

Meanwhile, Internal AFL-CIO polling showed that, among Ohio unionists, those numbers were expanded.  The candidates are now in a dead heat in Ohio, according to those polls, while the internal union polls showed a dramatic 12 point drop, to below 20 percent among Ohio union members and their families.  These results are showing the national corporate media narrative that Trump’s base is strongest among unionists to be untrue!

“We’ve got to get off our behinds and get our family and friends out to vote and get rid of Trump,” said Sheryl Henderson, an AFSCME member from Warren.  “This guy is for a national so-called ‘right-to-work’ law, for God’s sake!  Anyone who thinks this corrupt billionaire is going to do anything for working folks is sadly mistaken!”

“If not for every other reason we’ve talked about here, the real, overwhelming reason to assure Hillary is elected and Trump defeated,” said AFSCME President Lee Sanders, “is for our kids, our grandchildren.  The next president will appoint three, possibly four, Supreme Court judges.  If nothing else punches your button, this one has to!  The next president will concretely affect the lives of future generations!”

“We know this guy,” stated Saunders.  “We supported workers at his casinos in Atlantic City and in Vegas who’ve trying to join a union of their choice.  He ignored, broke, labor laws.  He continues to violate worker’s rights even as he runs for our nation’s highest office.  That’s what he really thinks of you!”

Jimmy Goggin, retired construction worker, stated that he felt showing up at the union rally was “his responsibility!

“It’s important that we all stand together for labor’s best interests,” he stated, “when the powers on top are doing so much to divide us!  We only win when we stand together!”

Senatorial candidate Ted Strickland also spoke, calling for a huge turnout, in order to “tell the racists, the dividers, that we won’t bite on their lies!”

Strickland called the labor movement, “the only thing standing between the American middle class and complete destruction!”

Strickland, who has strong labor support, has been subject to a massive flood of corporate money coming from the Koch brothers and other extreme right-wing, groups, trying hold onto the Ohio senate seat for Ron Portman, Bush’s former trade rep.

“It’s all in our hands,” stated Virginia Robinson, a leading Cleveland African American labor leader.  “I’m retired now and I know what Social Security means to all of us.  Medicare is a literal lifeline for most retirees.  Trump, Republicans, want to turn them over to Wall Street.  That’d throw us all into poverty! If that can’t get folks out to vote, I don’t know what will!”

Ohio USW District Director Dave McCall closed things out, calling for a major push to elect labor endorsed folks.

“They talk about jobs, jobs, but 90,000 steelworkers are involved in producing Green energy.  Those are basic industry,” said McCall.  “Trump talks of creating jobs but every single piece of steel Trump used in his productions has come from China, not here!”

While the union rally was going on, President Obama told thousands of enthusiastic supporters at Cleveland Metropolitan Airport that the election is, “Our chance of a lifetime to bring about real changes to help us all!”

He went on to state that Trump should just “stop whining about the election before we’ve even voted.”  This just proves, he said, that Trump is “unfit for the office he’s seeking!”

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign, according to news reports, was cutting its ties with Ohio’s Republican Party organization.

At issue is Ohio GOP Chairman Matt Borges’ public criticism of Trump’s “behavior!”

In a 14 page public letter from Trump campaign head Robert Paduchik to the Ohio GOP’s central committee, he said the campaign would forego organized, official party support in the remaining few weeks until Election Day.

In response, GOP Chair Borges publicly stated that he “didn’t know who he’d vote for,” that he “couldn’t put a Trump sign in his yard” and that he “excused” Ohio governor Kasich and he many GOP officials that had refused to back Trump.

Electoral experts stated that this dispute could result in the Trump committee being denied funds and volunteers, as well as access to party lists, all of which would normally come from the Ohio Republican Party.  Meanwhile, Democratic efforts appear to be on the upswing in Ohio!


CONTRIBUTOR

Bruce Bostick
Bruce Bostick

Bruce Bostick is a retired steelworker and labor activist in Ohio.

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