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Dozens of local labor union members filled a room to meet Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald on Monday night at the IBEW Local 8 building in Rossford.
George Tucker, executive secretary-treasurer of AFL-CIO, the group hosting the event, encouraged union members to get out the vote this fall for the Cuyahoga County executive who is challenging incumbent Republican Gov. John Kasich.
“This is the most important election we’ve ever had,” he said. “We’ve got to get people out to vote.”
Joseph Cousino, the business manager of IBEW Local 8; Ray Wood, president of United Auto Workers Local 14; and Catherine Hernandez, the recording secretary for Toledo Federation of Teachers Local 250, all spoke in fervent support of Mr. FitzGerald.
Union members stood to clap and shout their appreciation as Mr. FitzGerald stood to speak.
He said he knew the issues on the minds of attendees. “People know the economy is not working for them. Fifty percent of people in the state are living paycheck to paycheck,” he said.
He told his audience that there are two types of government. One type, to which he said Governor Kasich belongs, believes it is their job to “shovel money” to people who are already the wealthiest people in the state. The other type, the type he said he supports, believes that “the government ought to support average working-class families and middle-class families.”
He said the current government has consistently worked against working- class people, “starting with Senate Bill 5,” the 2011 law that would have limited the collective bargaining rights of public employees.
He then asked union members for help. “I need you to have conversations with your friends, families, and co-workers,” he said. “If people knew what was at stake, the election would not even be close.”
— Kathleen Ashcraft