Regardless of how you feel about the Tea Party and their ballot initiatives in Ohio, you have to give them credit for persistence and, at least last year, their success.

I wrote extensively about last year’s “Healthcare Freedom” amendment (aka Issue 3) – the anti-“Obamacare” amendment that Chris Littleton and the Ohio Liberty Council not only got on the ballot, but succeeded in passing. I honestly never thought they’d get enough signatures to get it on the ballot. And when they did, I never thought they’d get the votes to get it passed. I was wrong in both cases.

I know I’m not the only one who underestimated their strategy and their ability to gather funding for the effort. For over a year the organization relied on a dedicated group of true-believers gathering signatures at festivals and fairs and anywhere large groups of Ohioans gathered. The pace was consistent, but relatively slow. And early in the year, there was no reason to believe they would get enough signatures to get on the 2011 ballot.

When they suddenly got some help from Republicans intent on boosting voter turnout for their own pet-issue (Issue 2/SB5), things changed quickly, catching many people off guard.

It’s no secret that supporters of the Affordable Care Act were late to respond to last year’s ballot initiative. And while their messaging was good, there was not nearly enough of it to change voters’ minds. Hopefully we won’t make the same mistake this time around.

Ohioans for Workplace Freedom and their partners announced plans to put a “Right to Work” amendment, aka the “Ohio Workplace Freedom Amendment”, on the ballot right after the November 2011 elections.

We Are Ohio recently announced they would be gearing up for the fight against the initiative. While I’m sure there’s lots going on behind the scenes, we haven’t really heard much from either side of the fight.

Yesterday, however, a reader sent us a link to an ad for signature gatherers. According to the ad, signature gatherers in South West Ohio would be paid $1.50 per signature and would be working to “place the Ohio’s Workplace Freedom Amendment on the ballot for voters to approve”

I spoke with Chris Littleton, spokesman for Ohioans for Workplace Freedom, yesterday and he confirmed they are hiring signature gathers. In fact, they’ve had paid gatherers working for weeks now. According to Littleton, “signature gatherers were hired going into the primary election to start efforts with a boost”.

The important take away here is not that they are collecting signatures, but that they are hiring people to do it. According to Littleton, the money is from “few private donors and a couple organizations”. While it’s unclear exactly how much money has been committed to the effort, the fact that they have funds available to hire signature gatherers should serve as a wake up call to those opposed to this amendment.

We Are Ohio recently announced it would be using part of the $700,000 it still has left from the SB5 fight on educating voters about the “right to work” initiative. Based on their overwhelming success last year, this certainly is good news for those intent on stopping this anti-union initiative.

Those who oppose the “Right to work” amendment should also be happy that Ohio’s Republicans are unlikely thrilled about having this on the ballot in 2012. As they try to hold on their seats and majorities, they are also trying to distance themselves from their decisive defeat over SB5, which means we probably won’t see funding from the ORP flowing into this ballot initiative. But there are still plenty of local, state and national anti-union groups that could likely be convinced to help fund the effort.

Unlike last time, I’m going to give these guys some credit and assume they will, eventually, get their amendment in front of voters. So the real question then becomes one of timing.

Littleton, when asked about the target ballot date, repeated what other members of the effort have said: they’d like to get this on the 2012 ballot, but 2013 looks more likely. And while I do seem to think he’s right about 2013 being more reasonable, I can’t help but remember: that’s what I thought last time.

  • missskeptic

    Signature gatherers were hired to collect signatures against HB 194 also.  However, I’m not aware if they were paid by the signature or the hour.  I would think the Kochs were probably assisting with funding this latest assault on worker rights.  Kasich has mentioned more than once that he’s not interested in right to work – I guess that’s so unless maybe he can get someone else to pass it for him so he doesn’t get the blame.  These Liberty nuts think this is a done deal because it doesn’t involve public unions, just private ones.  But think of the many private union members from the AFL-CIO and steelworkers who stood with teachers and firemen last year – it’s time for payback, public workers.

  • jr6020

    Bring it on!  Can you imagine the turnout our side will produce if we face this issue this Nov?  The state GOP must be quaking in their boots over this.  Just remember what happened in ’58 (the last time Ohio had a RTW issue on the ballot).  It went down 63-37 (almost like SB 5) and the GOP was wiped out.  BO and Sen Brown will cruise to big victories and quite possibly the Ohio house will be Dem again…Jim, Columbus

  • Notgvn

    I still have to wonder if this goes on the 2012 ballot if it won’t be voted down in the wake of the repeal of Ohio Senate Bill 5.  One poll doesn not an election decide.

  • Anastasjoy

    Actually, I’m pretty sure this one involves ALL unions. It’s SB 5 on steroids. Remember the argument for supporting the overturning of SB 5 was that while that was only about public sector unions, if they got that done, they would come for private sector unions next? Well, they’re coming for both now in one fell swoop. This one hits every union.

    Also, I’m surprised the diarist say he hasn’t seen much opposition to it. Seems to me I’ve already heard a lot, including laying the groundwork for framing this accurately. I think this battle will be very different from Issue 3 (health care repeal) last year, which didn’t garner any resources and even little pushback I think in part because people knew it was toothless and were focusing their guns on Issue 2 (SB 5 repeal) instead.I was one of those. If someone appeared overwhelmed and confused to me, I didn’t waste time talking to them about Issue 3, because I knew it didn’t matter.
    That won’t be the case with right to work for less. If it gets anywhere near the ballot, the unions will be dumping a lot of money into it, since it has  even broader impact than SB 5

  • The healthcare sigs? We caught them at several of our SB 5 petition signings lying and telling people it was th SB 5 petition..I personally caught 2 petitioners the com fest n Pride, lying to get the sigs..PLEASE DONT SIGN ANYTHING WITHOUT MAKING SURE  u r signing what they say it is..

  • They are surely planning other attacks to make sure right to work 4 less passes..what Im worried about is that flip chip they can use on the machines to flip the votes..Im personally tired of the Repubs serving corps interests..we must get people out to vote..n give the people the resources to take back their voices in our state..

  • That citizens groups doing it, trust  me he;s involved just letting others once again take the rap…which reminds me..Senator Shannon Jones is back in the news..when her name pops up..n kasichs quiet, be prepared..he’s already trying to piece out SB 5 w/the Cleveland Plan..and all repub gov states are “coincidentally” all pushn their private for profit charter schools  in attempts to dismantle n extractn as much tax payer money as possible, as well as, pushn school reform in attempts to help expediate the dismantling of all public schools…The repubs are countn on people becoming anxious, desperate to work, since Kasichs other smoke screened lies regardn reasoning for why he  not only gave 100’s of millions in tax breaks to corps who have not created any jobs in return, will now promise w/the right to work..for less, legislation, every 1 will b back to work IF  every1 gives a little..that means everyone but the corps.., legislators n execs..bringing everyones wages way below in private  sector as well…requiring private sector as well to pay there health care, retirement or 401k n with banks making millions in profits but not offerring any interest on your savings, retirement accounts..the real winners in right to work is every1 but the worker n the children..The big plan to keep control of the people, leveling every1 out to poor…and the top 1percent and they r “exempt” from anything they pass, because they r the legislators, and its  for the good of the people. They will then once again receive a bonus at the taxpayers expense..

  • We are educating every1 NOT TO SIGN THE RIGHT TO WORK 4 LESS..

  • The right to work 4 less attacks everyone..except the top 1 percent..sounds good, but is a bad bill..worse than SB 5 because it attacks everyone..

  •  We as Citizens must take a stand and let them who we elect if you are not doing the peoples job, then you will be removed. To many attacks on the middle class, in the public sector it is real simple it is about our pension grab plain and simple.  Those of you who think we have it easy let us collect the social security that we all paid into but as public employees cannot  collect social security, that the far left call it an entitlement program. 

    Recall Protects Us All. ( Ohio)

  • Retrofuturistic

    Signatures that were acquired by a paid signature gatherer are only one step away from signatures that are paid for.

  • Most ballot initiatives used paid signature gatherers for at least a portion of their petitions. My point here was not to demonize them for hiring paid signature gatherers, but rather to identify it as an indication that they have money and are ramping up their efforts.


    Well, let’s get ready!!!!

    I don’t want Ohio to be North Alabama.

  • Greenlee

    All right General Hospital was saved. And there is some strong talk about NBC or USA maybe picking up AMC and OLTL in some capacity. Maybe not 5 days a week without reruns. But in some type.

    This really isn’t anything with the conviction of farm animals or dog auctions or a way to stop communism via the Health Care reform opt out.

    Once the money runs out for whoever is paying for signuatures. The issure will die.  No one is going to do what might be considered some type of crossing the political line.

  • LRPB

    All you have to do is research American Builders and Contractors and you will be led down a very deep rabbit hole.

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