Jesse Jackson joins Ohio union workers in opposition to collective bargaining reform
Published: Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 1:19 PM Updated: Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 5:17 PM
By Joe Guillen, The Plain Dealer
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Rev. Jesse Jackson revved up union workers at a downtown rally today to oppose Senate Bill 5, a Republican-backed proposal to overhaul the state's collective bargaining law.
"Workers must not be the scapegoat for a rather profound economic crisis," Jackson said, surrounded by local elected officials, union leaders and clergymen. "Tell the governor, 'We're going to act. We're not going back!'"
Ohio has joined Wisconsin and other states in a growing debate over unions' rights. Republicans pushing to weaken unions argue current rules are tilted in public workers' favor, pushing excessive labor costs on taxpayers.
Jackson visited with protesters in Wisconsin last week.
Today, Jackson said American workers are being unfairly blamed. Instead, he pointed at greed on Wall Street and companies that move jobs to cheap labor markets overseas.
"It's easier to attack workers than to attack cheap labor," Jackson said.
Throughout his 20-minute speech, Jackson led the workers in call-and-response chants. His words drew consistent applause and calls of "That's right!" from the crowd.
"We together make America strong," Jackson said.