Labor scored an impressive victory in a referendum election in Ohio, when the state's voters emphatically rejected Gov. John Kasich's anti-worker law, SB5, that would have deprived 350,000 of the state's public employees of their collective bargaining rights. The law also banned labor's right to strike and raised employee contributions to health care and pension funds.
It required a remarkable effort by the state's unions and their allies to deliver a crushing defeat to Gov. Kasich and his SB5 law. The latest referendum tally showed that SB5 had been rejected by 904,391 votes against 558,570 votes a 63-57 margin.
The Ohio victory resonated in dozens of states across the country, from Maine to California where unions are fighting a series of anti-labor attacks aimed at destroying the union movement.
A statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said: "This is our moment, and we won with solidarity. We won because the working people of Ohio public and private sectors union and non-union stood together."
Trumka added: "The most important thing is to find a way to keep your own energy going and growing...Together, we're building a new kind of politics, a politics that works for the 99 percent, not just the 1 percent," the AFL-CIO leader predicted.
AFL-CIO Snubs Women's Rights Win in Mississippi
While recording early labor victories in New Jersey, Maine, Arizona and Kentucky, the AFL-CIO remained completely silent about the election contest in Mississippi, where the voters turned down an amendment that would define life as the moment of conception.
The rejected amendment, known as "Initiative 26" on the ballot, is so restrictive that it would ban abortion in cases of rape or incest, and even when a woman's health or life is in danger. In addition, it could outlaw common forms of birth and in-vitro fertilization.
Voters in Colorado twice rejected similar measures by as much as 40 percent in 2008 and 2010. Anti-choice groups, despite their defeat in Mississippi, are said to be pushing similar anti-abortion amendments in Florida, Montana, Oregon and California. Other states are likely to see tough anti-abortion legislation in 2012.
The campaign to defeat Mississippi's Initiative 26 was headed by NARAL (Pro-Choice America) that launched a nationwide public education campaign through its 500,000 e-mail list and in partnership with allied groups that oppose government intrusion into the private medical decisions of women.