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May 6, 2011

On to the ballot box

Cleveland Stonewall Democrats president Rob Rivera introduces the panelists at an April 28 forum on Senate Bill 5, Gov. John Kasich’s measure to restrict collective bargaining by public workers.

Kasich signed the new law in March. Petitions are being circulated to put a repeal measure on November’s ballot.

Speakers included Marquez Brown from We Are Ohio, the organization formed to repeal it, State Rep. Nickie Antonio, and Harriet Applegate of the North Shore AFL-CIO.

As the first out Ohio legislator, Antonio could speak to the actions in the Statehouse, while Applegate provided a labor perspective on the situation. Brown brought a grassroots organizing outlook to the evening.

“The panelists presented different angles on why it matters,” said Rivera.

The law strips most collective bargaining rights from public employees across the state. This makes it an LGBT issue, since it was through collective bargaining that domestic partner benefits were added to public universities’ employee contracts.

Eliminating the process means that LGBT employees would be at the mercy of their employers’ whims as to whether or not they would be able to provide insurance for their families.

Max Blackman, representing Sen. Sherrod Brown, also spoke.

In addition to Blackman and the panel discussion, there was also information on getting involved in the repeal efforts, petitions to be signed, and a training on how to gather signatures properly and legally.

--Anthony Glassman

Photo: Max Blackman

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