Workers rally to send message to Ohio Governor

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19)  - Hundreds of demonstrators packed Fountain Square on Tuesday afternoon to rally for, what demonstrators called, "a better Ohio."

Workers stood and chanted for about three hours. Participants said they needed to send a unified message to Columbus: they don't believe politicians will solve today's problems; they're counting on the people of Ohio to do it.

"I think {Gov. Kasich} wears earplugs when it comes to anybody except the money class," said demonstrator Joyce Asfour. "I'm sorry. I just don't have much faith in him."

Workers and supporters of the cause also waved signs. Members of the group said they are fighting back against Governor Kasich.

Most people attending the rally were from the Tri-state. Some, like some health care worker Teresa Law, drove hours to be a part of the Cincinnati rally. Law said workers are sick of how Gov. Kasich is running the state and, Law added, someone needs to protect their jobs.

"{Gov. Kasich} wants to not only cut home care," said Law. "He's also cutting the pay of these workers who went 13 years without a raise and now they're being cut even more."

Stand Up for Good Jobs and Strong Communities organized the event. The organization is a coalition of faith, community, student, labor and civil rights groups.

Speakers representing a wide range of workers and community groups addressed the crowd. A few local lawmakers also spoke at the event, including Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune and Cincinnati City Councilman Wendell Young.

"It's to demonstrate that we have something to say," said Cincinnati teacher Lee Black. "The teachers in Ohio. The unions in Ohio. The firefighters. The policemen. We're all standing up and wanting to make a statement because we want our collective bargaining rights."

Both workers in unions and those not were represented at the rally. Some acknowledged that tough cuts must be made to balance the budget, but added that the current ones just aren't the right ones.

"Just disappointing. Very disappointing," said teacher Jennifer Smith. "I think {Gov. Kasich} has the opportunity to do wonderful great things with this Jobs Ohio program he's creating, but at the same time, by killing the middle class and making all these cuts, it's undoing all the good."

Law agreed.

"I'm very hopeful that {Gov. Kasich} will get it," said Law. "Do I really think that at this point he will? I'm having a hard time believing that he will get it. I'm just being very hopeful right now."

Rallies just like this one were held in 12 other cities, including: Vandalia, Maumee, Oberlin, Jefferson, Mansfield, Salem, Westerville, Akron, Portsmouth, Strongsville, Stuebenville and Cambridge.

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