The Keene Sentinel in New Hampshire reports that Ohio Gov. John Kasich has lots of stops planned in the Granite State over the long Labor Day weekend. His reelection campaign slogan last year, when voter turnout was the lowest it’s been since World War II at 36.2 percent with the governor getting fewer than one in four registered voters to vote for him, was “Kasich Works.”
On Labor Day 2015, it seems appropriate to ask, when John Kasich works, who’s he working for?
After spending more than any other candidate including declared Democratic candidates to boost his low name recognition, Gov. Kasich’s national polling remains among the lowest of the lot at about four percent for candidates that have more than zero percent, according to an aggregate poll of national polls. Meanwhile, his rise to second place in polls focused only on New Hampshire, which still puts him way behind league leader Donald Trump, shows big spending in a small state by Mr. Kasich can pay off, as the latest Marist Poll indicates.
Kasich Doesn’t Labor For Labor on Labor Day
Yet while Ohio’s governor has spent between $3-4 million in New Hampshire, Carly Fiorina, the only woman among the 17 declared Republican candidates for president, has little paid media but a lot of earned media. Her rise to fifth place in the Granite State, along with being included in the next Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Library on September 16th sponsored by CNN is impressive.
Gov. Kasich will use Labor Day to boost his image as he and Fiorina participate in the Milford Labor Day Parade on Monday, an event U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who is also seeking the Democratic nomination, will also participate in. It bears asking two basic questions: Does Gov. Kasich understand the history behind the 128-year old federal public holiday, and who’s he been working for throughout his nearly 40-year political career?
To acquaint Ohio’s term-limited, crony capitalist governor with the essentials behind Labor Day, he should know that labor unions, and tragic events involving everyday workers and their corporate bosses, were behind it all. Celebrated for the first time in 1882 in New York City, Labor Day took the form of a “street parade to exhibit to the public ‘the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations,'” according to Wikipedia. The Haymarket Massacre in Chicago on May 4, 1886 prompted U.S. President Grover Cleveland to commemorate the holiday in the wake of a violent event wherein union workers striking for an eight-hour day and police offers were killed from a bomb.
In 1909 a resolution was adopted at the American Federation of Labor’s convention marking the Sunday preceding Labor Day as Labor Sunday. The day was dedicated to the “spiritual and educational aspects of the Labor movement.”
50 Ways To Hate Unions
It’s long been Gov. Kasich’s personal and political policy to dislike unions, especially public teacher’s unions, which he attacked when he first ran for governor in 2010. Recently, at an education forum in New Hampshire, Gov. Kasich again attacked hard-working public educators, sounding arrogant and ignorant doing so.
“If I were king in America, I would abolish all teachers lounges where they sit together and worry about how ‘woe is us,'” he said during a CNN interview.
In 2011, the man who thinks he is king of Ohio pushed for legislation that would have ended the right for teachers to bargain collectively in Ohio. Mr. Kasich “prefers to marginalize public teachers and privatize public schools, Larry O’Neil wrote in the Akron Bean Journal on September 2, adding it shows “lack of respect for the profession and those who have dedicated their lives to it.”
Just a couple months ago, in May, independent home health-care and in-home child-care workers who do business with the state got bad news from their governor. In an executive order, Gov. Kasich made about 7,000 home health-care workers affiliated with Service Employees International Union District 1199, as well as roughly 2,700 child-care workers who are members of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 8, ineligible for collective bargaining with the state. Gov. Kasich’s order rescinded a pair of executive orders signed by former Gov. Ted Strickland in 2007 and 2008. A spokesman for Kasich said at the time that “the argument that the workers should be considered government employees ‘has always been on shaky ground.'”
SB5, Kasich’s Granddaddy Of Them All
The granddaddy of Kasich’s anti-worker zeal was the thundering defeat of SB 5 in the fall of 2011. Gov. Kasich got his political ideology handed to him on a silver plater, as Ohioans trumped his plan to gut collective bargaining for public worker unions by a 2-1 margin. Kasich may have grimaced at the defeat, but he never lost his fire in the belly to take down unions, big or small.
As worker’s pay has remained essentially flat for decades while CEO pays skyrockets in comparison, Gov. Kasich and his rich crony capitalist backers are no friend to average working men and women who want better pay, better and safer working conditions and job benefits, but who will never get them if Gov. Kasich or any one of the other GOP presidential hopefuls wins the race for the White House next year.
Kasich Silent On Labor Day As Obama Works For Workers
President Barack Obama, in his State of the Union Address in January, said, “We are the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers. . . . And that forces too many parents to make the gut-wrenching choice between a paycheck and a sick kid at home.”
Contrast Gov. Kasich’s anti-worker agenda and track record with those of the president’s. To show his solidarity with workers on Labor Day, the nation’s chief executive will sign an executive order Monday requiring paid sick leave for employees of federal contractors, including 300,000 who currently receive none.
So on Labor Day 2015, with no press release on the significance of the day to show, the mantra “Kasich Works” paints a clear and present danger picture of who he’s working for, and, spoiler alert, it isn’t for you dear worker.