Note to all local and district leaders: Please forward this important message to
your members by clicking on this link.
Sharing Ohio’s collective bargaining story
with Washington Education Association
[cid:image007.jpg@01CD3A5F.8B750AA0]I had the honor to represent OEA members on a
visit in Spokane with more than 1,000 members of the Washington Education
Association’s political action committee donors last Saturday, and together we
celebrated what YOU achieved in Ohio during the Issue 2 campaign.
Washington state members are fighting complacency the way we fought apathy for Ted
Strickland in 2010 – and the way we must fight off any trace of fatigue or apathy in
the 2012 campaign. The Voters First Amendment is too important. If we don’t start
getting signatures gathered in a more serious way, we run the risk of not getting it
on the ballot and reliving the attacks of 2011 all over again.
You know how that happened. Some of us did not immediately recognize the threat John
Kasich posed to organized labor. But attacks began quickly in 2011 when Kasich and
a more extreme group of legislators took control in Ohio. We could stop some of
their mischief, but not nearly all of it.
Our friends on the West coast are looking at our experience and battling
complacency, too. Looking at our story of defeat in 2010 before victory in 2011,
they believe now is the time for activism. Here are some reactions to the Ohio story
from local leaders of the Washington Education Association:
“We shared the story of the OEA, from the governor’s shocking dismantling of
collective bargaining through the organizing efforts throughout the state and the
raw determination of members to never give up, never back down and never surrender
their fundamental right to organize,” said Cathy DeJong, President of the Auburn
“All year long I’ve been talking to my Building Reps and Members, saying ‘We are one
election away from becoming the next Wisconsin, the next Idaho, the next Ohio,’ ”
said Pam Kruse, President of the Franklin Pierce Education Association. “At first it
just didn’t seem to sink in. Then we started to watch the Wisconsin and Ohio videos,
and (our building reps) sat up straighter in their chairs. After hearing Pat
Frost-Brooks speak to the over one million petitions gathered to overturn the
anti-collective bargaining law, they get it now.”
We are so proud of what we accomplished in the Issue 2 campaign. And we are proud,
too, of the OEA members and staff who have gone to states like North Carolina to
bolster membership drives after they took payroll deduction for dues away, and to
Wisconsin to help unseat Governor Scott Walker.
In one sense, our opponents are the politicians who want to tear apart public
education and privatize it via vouchers and charter schools.
But in a very real way, our biggest challenge is complacency. I plan to support
Barack Obama with enthusiasm and energy. I plan to work just as hard for the Voters
First Amendment as I did against Issue 2.
We have to remind ourselves of what happened when people got distracted by some
trivial issues where we disagreed with Gov. Ted Strickland – we got John Kasich
instead. Enough said.
So rest if you must, but don’t you dare quit – or the well-financed extremists will
have plenty of opportunity to decide Ohio’s future, and the future of our schools.
Mitt Romney – a recycled platform
and bad record on support for education
If you don’t think Mitt Romney poses a real threat to public schools and colleges,
you have only to read through his newly released education policies and platform
), which reads like a re-run of No Child Left Behind, complete with a preface by Jeb
As NEA President Dennis Van Roekel has already noted, Romney’s education advisors
include Rod Paige, who called the NEA a “terrorist organization.” More pointedly, as
Massachusetts governor, Romney cut early education and pre-k funding, vetoed $10
million for kindergarten expansion, questioned the benefits of early education, and
suggested Head Start was a failure. See President Van Roekel’s complete response to
We Are Ohio will promote Voters First Amendment
I am pleased to tell you that the We Are Ohio executive committee has voted to
embrace the Voters First Amendment, and the effort to communicate more widely about
the citizens redistricting effort will get a new boost statewide. We Are Ohio, which
will add valuable experience in voter referendums and campaigning, scheduled news
conferences this week to support Voters First in Columbus, Cleveland, Youngstown,
Dayton, Cincinnati, Lima, Toledo, Steubenville and Zanesville.
We have new talking points and scripts for seeking petition signatures at
Please contact your LRC if you need petitions or have some to turn in.
Thanks for everything you do!