Up SB5 Veto Oct 2011 Ohio Conf Discuss Apr 7 2011

Gearing Up for a Statewide Veto Referendum, November 8, 2011

Chapter Leaders:

From everything the Ohio Conference is hearing, it is expected that Senate Bill 5 will quickly pass the Ohio House of Representatives, potentially even next week.  We know that Gov. Kasich is going to sign the bill.  As a result, the Ohio Conference, as part of the larger labor union coalition, is gearing up for a veto referendum.

What is a veto referendum?
  When a bill is signed into law in Ohio, citizens have the opportunity to "veto" or "invalidate" the law before it takes effect.  Within a 90-day window, the group(s) opposing the law must get six percent (6%) of the electorate to sign a petition to have the law placed on the next general election ballot for rejection or approval.  The signatures must be approved by the Ohio Secretary of State as valid - those of voters who are registered to vote at their current residence.  A simple majority is required to veto the law.  We have seen polls in Ohio and nationwide that show the majority of the public believes public employees have a right to collective bargaining.  Consequently, we see this as a fight we can win!

How are we gearing up for this?
  We are continuing to work closely alongside the other public unions (private ones, too, like the UAW and Steelworkers) in coordinating this effort.  A campaign committee that will be the driving force for the referendum is being formed now.  The campaign committee will be supplying canvassers to collect signatures, field organizers to coordinate all over the state, and will be developing a statewide media campaign once the referendum is officially on the ballot.  We will be in touch again in the not too distant future about how AAUP members can plug into the petition drive to volunteer and to help call attention to this matter in other ways.

How can the Chapters help?
  First, the campaign will need monetary contributions.  A statewide ballot campaign committee can accept unlimited resources from individuals as well as corporations, unions, and nonprofits. This is about defending our rights to a means of truly ensuring academic freedom, shared governance, quality education for Ohio's students, quality research for Ohio's future, and our own livelihoods - so now is the time to break out the rainy day fund, because it's not just raining, it's pouring.  And we better believe the other side of this campaign is going to be well-funded.  We will be in touch with Chapter leaders over the phone in the near future to discuss what resources we can pull together from respective rainy day funds to contribute to the referendum campaign committee.  As mentioned above, AAUP members can also help by directly participating in the petition drive and calling attention to the referendum by informing our friends, colleagues, and neighbors.  There will be more specific action items as we move forward.

We are still doing all that we can within the confines of the legislative process.
  Dr. Rudy Fichtenbaum from Wright State University (also a Trustee of the Ohio Conference) will be testifying before the House next week in opposition to SB 5, specifically addressing the Yeshiva-like language that was inserted into the Amended Substitute Bill.  We have not in any way abandoned efforts to influence legislators.  We are continuing to meet with them and are communicating key points via our document: Looking for Savings in All the Wrong Places.  Even though it seems as if the House Republicans already have the votes to pass SB 5, it is vitally important that we let all House members know that SB 5 is bad for Ohio.  It is an important step in preparing the way for the veto referendum, even if we can't win in the House.

We will continue to keep you informed throughout this process and appreciate all that you're doing to keep your members informed and active.



Sara Kaminski

Executive Director
Ohio Conference of the American Association of University Professors
137 East State Street
Columbus, OH 43215
O: 614-545-6349, ext. 6349
F: 614-241-2169
C: 614-420-5718


Up SB5 Veto Oct 2011 Ohio Conf Discuss Apr 7 2011