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Hoffa speaks at anti-Issue 2 rally in Toledo

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Teamsters president James Hoffa speaks in front of a portrait of former Local 20 president Les Singer during a rally in opposition to Ohio Issue 2, Wednesday at Teamsters Local 20.

The Blade/Sean Work
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James Hoffa, general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, rallied a crowd of union members Wednesday night against the passage of Issue 2.

Mr. Hoffa, along with other speakers, urged union members to vote early and to get their households, neighbors, and friends to do the same before the voting ends on Nov. 8.

“Governor Kasich said get on the bus or we’re going to run you over,” Mr. Hoffa told the crowd inside the Teamsters Local 20 hall on the Anthony Wayne Trail at Hawley Street. “Well Governor, we’ve got a big truck out there. Now we’re going to run you over.” A semi-tractor-trailer emblazoned with the Teamsters logo was parked outside in the lot next to the building.

The line brought big applause from the group of several hundred who packed the hall.

Speakers included members of the Toledo and Cincinnati firefighter unions. Also well-represented, in addition to Local 20 members themselves, were members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 75, and the Toledo Federation of Teachers. State Rep. Matthew Szollosi addressed the gathering.

Mr. Hoffa recalled he had rallied in Columbus to try to stop the passage of Senate Bill 5 in the Republican-controlled legislature.

“This is part of our movement to motivate people, to educate people, in regard to voting on this proposition,” Mr. Hoffa said. “This is a basic right of workers. We realize this is just the beginning. If we win, it’s going to send a message to these governors, these right-wingers ... that rock them back to say we’re not going to go down easy. We’re going to fight every step of the way.”

Passage of Issue 2 would uphold Senate Bill 5, which is supported by Republican Governor Kasich. The law would partially roll back bargaining rights for public sector unions to make strikes illegal and mandate higher percentages of contributions by employees to health care and pensions, among other things.

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