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2011-03-02

Labor Protests Spread: Thousands Rally Against Anti-Union Bill in Ohio

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Labor protests are continuing across the country from Idaho to Indiana as Republican state lawmakers attempt to push through legislation aimed at crushing public employee unions. In Ohio, 20,000 workers and protesters rallied in Columbus on Tuesday to oppose a bill to end collective bargaining rights for state employees. Harvey Wasserman, editor of the Ohio-based The Free Press, spoke to Democracy Now! from the rally. [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Labor protests are continuing across the country, from Idaho to Indiana, as Republican lawmakers attempt to push through legislation aimed at crushing public employee unions. In Ohio, at least 20,000 people rallied in Columbus on Tuesday to oppose a bill to end collective bargaining rights for state employees. Harvey Wasserman, editor of the Ohio-based freepress.org, spoke to Democracy Now! from the rally.

HARVEY WASSERMAN: Earlier this morning, there were 25,000 people here to demand the defeat of Senate Bill 5, which would basically disembowel the union movement in Ohio. This front yard of the Statehouse is filled with teachers, union members, firefighters, police. And like I say, it’s been going on since 10:00 this morning. It’s now after 5:00. The message is to preserve the union movement. The people in — the working people in the state are being crushed by wage cuts, by bad working conditions.

We have a governor who is a multi-millionaire, who made at least $5 million working for Shearson Lehman. His election was guaranteed by a major contribution at the end of the campaign from Rupert Murdoch directly. John Kasich was a bloviator on Fox News for a number of years and took his money straight from Rupert’s pocket, and that’s how he got into the Statehouse. And both the House and the Senate here are dominated by corporate Republicans.

And what people are here to say is that corporations are not people, and that a government run by corporations is not a democracy. These people are very, very aware that what we’re facing here is the end of democracy in this state if unions are destroyed, because unions have been the bulwark of democracy in the industrial nation, and certainly in the state of Ohio.

AMY GOODMAN: Harvey Wasserman speaking at Tuesday’s large labor rally in Columbus, Ohio.

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