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Ohio Democratic Party Faces Its Own Labor Fight

Ohio Democratic Party chair David Pepper
Ohio Public Radio

In July, the Ohio Democratic Party recognized a new union that was formed to represent campaign workers. Now, a few weeks before the election, that union is taking issue with the party, which has long leaned on labor to support its candidates.

Laura Riemers with the new Campaign Worker’s Guild says the Ohio Democratic Party won’t sign a fair contract. There are a couple of big sticking points.

“You know, paying workers a fair wage and making sure workers aren’t paying hundreds of dollars a month to do their jobs," Riemers says.

Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper says it’s only been a few weeks but he says the party is offering good pay and benefits.

“We are in line with the very agreements that, in other states, they’ve celebrated as steps forward but obviously, certainly, we can look for ways to improve and that’s what we are doing," Pepper says.

Pepper says the party will continue to negotiate on a contract which he says will serve as a positive model for other states.

The dispute between the new union and Ohio Democrats comes the same week as the launch of Labor2018, an effort by the Ohio AFL-CIO to elect pro-labor Democrats.

A Monday email from the AFL-CIO encouraged recipients to join "union Sisters and Brothers between now and Election Day to #TakeBackOhio by electing Rich Cordray and Betty Sutton as Governor and Lt. Governor and re-elect Sherrod Brown to the Senate."

Brown told the liberal website Think Progress that he supports the unionization effort.

“All workers have the right to organize and bargain for their wages and benefits. I admire these young staffers for unionizing and speaking up, and I hope the negotiations are resolved soon,” Brown told ThinkProgress.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.