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From a Cleveland Browns Game to a Fire Museum, Unions are Rallying the “NO” Vote on Ohio’s Issue 2

As the debate about Ohio’s Issue 2, the state referendum on the contentious SB5 law which strips collective bargaining rights from unions, continues to gain steam just two weeks before the election, Ohio firefighters are taking their message of “Vote No on 2” straight to the people. This past Sunday, they held a rally among the tailgaters before the Cleveland Brown’s game against the Seahawks. The rally was a success in informing people about the issue and how it affects all Ohioans:

Starting early in the morning, the firefighters wearing helmets and IAFF Local 93 shirts, fanned out through tailgate parties that filled municipal parking lots near Cleveland Stadium. They gave out campaign literature and football-shaped stickers with orange letters reading Vote No on Issue 2.

Groups of bagpipers from the Cleveland Firefighters Memorial Pipes and Drums worked their way through the parties drawing large crowds who cheered the music and joined in chanting: “No on 2, No on 2!”

The firefighters’ action galvanized the carnival-like atmosphere with thousands wearing Browns shirts, outlandish headgear, dancing, playing cornhole, guzzling brew and munching hotdogs, the air heavy with mouthwatering smells of outdoor grills.

At noon, the firefighters gathered in front of the Cleveland Firefighters Memorial located directly across from one of the main entrances to the stadium to hold a press conference. The memorial, portraying firefighters confronting arching red and yellow tongues of flame, was bedecked with a banner reading Vote No On Two.

Children of firefighters held “Vote NO On Issue 2″ yard signs atop a fire truck parked next to the memorial and carrying a banner with the same message.

According to Cleveland’s WKYC, many Browns fans showed support while others simply looked on. Firefighters Local 93 President, Tom Lally, talked to WKYC about how the issue will affect the safety of his men.

Firefighters have been busy throughout the state asking the public to vote no on issue 2 since over 1,000,000 signatures were gathered to bring it to referendum. Last week, in Mansfield, firefighters and other first responders held a rally at the Historic Mansfield Fire Museum and in Toledo firefighters joined fellow union brothers outside of the Government Center.

On Tuesday there was a televised debate on Issue 2, moderated by Chuck Todd, with Republican State Senator Keith Faber of Celina taking the pro position and former Cleveland Democratic Congressman Dennis Eckart opposing. According to the Toldeo Blade, Quinnipiac polls taken after the debate showed that Ohioans are increasingly against Issue 2, with 57 percent against and 32 percent in favor, currently. 11 percent are still undecided.

The issue has acted as a bellwether to the 2012 elections and acts as a referendum on the policies enacted by Republican Governors elected via Tea Party momentum in 2010. In 2012, Democrats need to gain momentum in order to win reelection in battleground states such as Ohio. Issue 2 may be the first indicator of how the Midwest will vote in the upcoming presidential election.


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