People in Georgia and South Carolina, Ohio Gov. Kasich hopes, will take notice of him when he visits them next week. Continuing his travels out of state to boost his poor polling numbers higher than the two percent they are now, Ohio’s go-go governor is just another face in the crowd of Republicans fighting to be the GOP nominee for President of the United States next year. An outlier in the platoon of White House wannabees, Gov. Kasich will talk about his faith in god but probably won’t mention his repeated attacks on workers or his failure to launch on jobs.
Poor Jobs Record Extended
News about jobs created in the Buckeye State last month released Friday show a sad record for the CEO governor, who promised to create jobs and lift everyone up no matter their circumstances. Ohio under the Kasich Administration is now 30 straight months into a string of jobs reports that show he can’t even break even with the national job creation average. While the nation has recouped the jobs lost during the Great Recession, Gov. Kasich is tens-of-thousands of jobs shy of the number before the Great Recession took its toll on Ohio and nearly every other state.
Adding salt to this wound of unfilled promises, the executive showman, a former Fox TV political talk show host and former Lehman Brothers banker, is again attacking workers, this time the care givers who care for all the people the governor sees as “living in the shadows,” a favorite reference at the center of what a compassionate politician he is. For more than 10,000 home-care and child-care workers, their collective-bargaining agreements will expire on June 30.
A spokesman for the governor said the workers are not public employees and for them to join public employee unions is unsound. The voice of the Kasich Administration, Rob Nichols, told one reporter, “The governor has never supported these arrangements but allowed them to continue on the grounds that contractors might be able to get health care from their unions if they needed it. With health-care insurance more widely available, that reason is removed — one of the unions even dropped their health-care coverage — so it didn’t make sense to continue.”
Kasich’s Cover Story
It’s telling that Mr. Nichols would cite Obamacare as the reason for his boss’s action. Gov. Kasich is on record saying the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, is flawed and that he would, if president, devise a new national health care plan that “makes sense.” The world awaits his plan. What did make sense for Gov. Kasich was to take the billions Obamacare provided to states that expanded Medicaid, which he did by employing an administrative move to end-run a conservative legislature that didn’t want to do it on principle. Rob Nichols was truthful, though, when he said Mr. Kasich “has never supported these arrangements,” referring of course to workers acting together towards their own benefit. The governor also may not know that these care workers are paid low wages, often times barely above the minimum. Limiting his comments to just the benefits of Obamacare is likewise telling, since collective bargaining is also about wages and working conditions in addition to benefits like healthcare coverage.
Becky Williams was appalled by the governor’s decision. President of Service Employees International Union District 1199, Williams said, “Kasich is effectively attempting to silence thousands of low-wage workers, women and people of color from their ability to advocate for their clients and preserve quality care and services to the children, seniors and people with disabilities in our communities,” according to published reports.
Kasich’s compassion for the less fortunate stops short of closing down developmental disability centers, where people with severe disabilities live in the heart of darkness. He wants to save state dollars by pushing scores of these poor souls into private community based care, instead of letting then live in state-funded facilities that have the know how and resources to care for them 24/7.
Gov. Kasich got his political head handed to him in 2011, when voters by a margin of 2-1 repudiated him and the bill he signed that gutted collective bargaining for pubic union workers, including police, fire and teachers. At the time, Gov. Kasich said the will of the people had spoken. What he didn’t say was that he learned from that bold attempt to hurt people by making reducing their ability to bargain for better, safer working conditions and compensation. All Gov. Kasich learned was that to reach his goal of eliminating unions he had to go about it differently, maybe piecemeal if need be.
He did that Friday, when he rescinded an executive order put in place under Former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland that granted collective bargaining rights to home healthcare and childcare providers.
Mr. Strickland, now one of two candidates who want to take on Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman next year, didn’t let the governor’s harsh and hurtful action proceed without comment. In a statement Ted Strickland said, “These are the people who care for our children, our parents and grandparents, and disabled members of our communities – denying them a voice is not only wrong, it’s dangerous to the people who depend on their care. Voters across Ohio came together in 2011 and made clear they will not tolerate attacks on our workers, and ignoring the will of the people is unacceptable.” Mr. Strickland lead the charge to nullify Senate Bill 5 after Gov. Kasich signed it in 2011.
The Ohio Senate’s Minority leader Joe Schiavoni also weigh-ed in on Kasich’s rescinding move today. “The Governor’s executive order silences the collective voice of thousands of workers who provide crucial services for long hours at low pay. These workers, many of whom are women and minorities, are valuable assets to Ohio families. For Ohioans who work third shift, these childcare providers are sometimes the only option that fits their schedules. And in-home healthcare providers allow those in need to stay in their homes. The Governor talks about lifting people out of poverty with jobs that pay a living wage. But, taking collective bargaining rights away from workers who already earn low wages shows his words don’t match his deeds. Senate Democrats will be submitting budget amendments to address this attack on worker’s rights.”
AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall, said Gov. Kasich canceling collective bargaining rights for independent, in-home child care providers takes Ohio’s working families another step backward. “Every investment in early education is an investment in a child’s future. Today’s action isn’t about doing what’s right for our state, it’s an attack on Ohio’s most vulnerable children that will limit their opportunities in the future.”
Lyall notes that the governor’s action today affects more than 2,700 of the state’s independent child care providers who provide home-based care for an estimated 20,000 children. The union, which was recognized by Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland in 2008, is nearing the end of its contract with the state which expires at the end of June. “Gov. Kasich has repeatedly targeted Ohio workers since taking office, and he’s continuing that pattern today.
A loss of collective bargaining rights will mean lower-quality child care available to parents, and the loss of thousands of jobs that are largely held by women and minority workers now. This is another mean-spirited attack on working people that will hurt our families and our communities,” Lyall said in prepared remarks. “We’re not babysitters. Quality child care like what we provide can be the difference between a family living on public assistance or moving into the middle class. Asyia Haile, and independent provider and President of AFSCME Local 4025 which represents independent child care providers in 16 central Ohio counties, said, “Without union representation, I worry that families won’t be able to find the same professionalism or standards of care for their children. This will probably drive some providers out of business or discourage talented professionals from entering the industry at all. Ultimately, this move will be bad for Ohio’s working families and for our communities.”