Diverse 'Stand Up' Coalition Keeps Momentum Strong in Ohio

Ohio Rally 5-1-11

Keeping the momentum going in Ohio, thousands of activists rallied at the statehouse and stressed the critical link between good jobs and strong communities.

Below: In Columbus, Derrick Blackwell signs up with the "Stand Up for Ohio" coalition. He and his friends, Lecia Perry, center, and Jane Phillips, are CWA Local 4900 members who traveled from Indiana for the May 5 rally.

Ohio Rally 5-1-11

A diverse crowd of fed-up Ohioans rallied at the statehouse May 5 to further their campaign to overturn the new law eliminating collective bargaining rights for public workers, and to fight other legislative and budget attacks that are targeting everyone but the rich.

CWA and other union members were among 3,000 demonstrators, but community groups concerned about education, housing, taxes and the environment took center stage.

"The rally for Good Jobs and Strong Communities was where the dots got connected between the fight for workers' rights, the state budget, jobs, the environment, education and housing," CWA District 4 Vice President Seth Rosen said. "This is how we build a real majority in states like Ohio, by building a broad movement."

Earlier this year, Rosen helped launch the Stand Up for Ohio: Good Jobs and Strong Communities coalition. Last week's rally was just the latest in a series of coalition events around the state.

As speakers from different progressive groups took turns at the podium, they inserted large puzzle pieces representing "jobs," the "environment" and other issues into a big map of Ohio. "It was a visual way to help people see how the different pieces tie together," CWA District 4 Staff Representative Bill Bain said.

The rally was also a chance to advance the petition campaign for a referendum on Senate Bill 5, the new law stripping collective bargaining rights from public workers. Scores of CWA members and hundreds of other coalition activists are gathering signatures to put the issue before voters in November. The campaign needs 231,000 valid signatures, meaning volunteers need to collect at least 400,000 by the end of June.

Click here for the coalition's Facebook page to learn more and show your support for the campaign.