Biggest rally kicks off SB 5 repeal campaign

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Biggest rally kicks off SB 5 repeal campaign

Columbus Dispatch – With chants of “We are Ohio,” an estimated 11,000 union supporters rallied at the Statehouse yesterday to launch the effort to overturn the law that would weaken public workers’ bargaining power.

The crowd was the largest since the debate over Senate Bill 5 began in February. Many also signed up to help collect the 231,000 signatures needed to get a referendum on the November ballot.

“We haven’t seen this type of energy since 1983,” Michael Weinman, a retired Columbus police officer who was shot and paralyzed in the line of duty in 1998, said of the year the collective-bargaining law was passed in Ohio. He also is the treasurer of We Are Ohio, a coalition of unions and their supporters that organized the rally and is leading the effort to overturn the law.

Unions know they need to keep supporters fired up through November if they want to be successful, and they need to craft the right message to persuade voters to take the rare step of striking down a law. Both sides will argue that they are protecting the middle class; Republicans say the law will spare Ohioans from future tax increases.

Melissa Cropper, a librarian for Georgetown schools in southwestern Ohio, said killing the law “is about saving the middle class and protecting the rights of workers. Corporations are getting all the breaks, and they’re trying to balance the budget on the backs of the workers.”

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