Interest Group Activity in Ohio: Liberal and Progressive Groups

EXCERPT from Ohio AFL-CIO Overview for Debrief

2)  Rural county performance.  Notably, because our labor infrastructure is present in small towns, exurbs, and rural areas, Workers’ Voice and Labor 2012 could compete and carryout voter contact in rural and exurban counties like Allen, Athens, Belmont, Butler, Columbiana, Erie, Jefferson, Lake, Lawrence, Licking, Richland, Tuscarawas, and Washington.  In fact, in Ashtabula (HD 99), Belmont (HD 95), Columbiana (HD 5), Tuscarawas (HD 98), and Washington (HD 95), Workers’ Voice and Labor 2012 were the exclusive canvass presence in these counties.  HD 99 and HD 5 are two Ohio House gains for progressives.  The HD 98 produced a narrow margin enough for recount but a narrow loss now the target of a legal challenge for the Democrat.
3)  Workers’ Voice and Labor 2012 canvassed in 49 counties and called to all 88 counties.  Canvass attempts to Union households (walkable areas) included 95,024 doors to attempt to reach 119,885 Union members in targeted households.   
4)  Including GOTV, the Workers’ Voice and Labor 2012 program knocked on 668,904 doors and made 953,977 phone calls.
5)  Constituency groups of the Ohio AFL-CIO are independent, pro-worker messengers who consistently provided volunteer support, earned media messengers, and voter outreach to their voting constituencies and long-term allies.  APRI and CBTU partnered again with the Ohio Unity Coalition, a civic engagement and base vote operation which layered in voter contact over an earned media and advocacy strategy against voter suppression.  The Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans recruited volunteer phone bankers and canvassers and recruited retirees for release to Workers’ Voice and Labor 2012.  Polling throughout the election cycle affirmed the need for consistent contact to seniors and retirees.  Union retirees contacted by the Ohio Alliance surveyed for Obama, Brown, Congressional candidates, and Issue 2 outperformed nonunion retirees.
6)  Conservatives who outmaneuvered us in redistricting and reapportionment still maintain a 12-4 edge in the Congressional delegation, but our canvass, phone, and mail program waged a program for pro-worker candidates at the top of the ballot and down. 
7)  Workers’ Voice and Labor 2012 piloted its own loyalty program for activists, RePurpose.  Much like a frequent flyer program, returning volunteers and released members earned points for their activism which they could redeem or “repurpose” into money for locked-out workers at Crystal Sugar, online ad buys for President Obama or Senator Brown, or expanding the Working America canvass.  In Ohio, activists “rePurposed” their points into $7,500 for the Crystal Sugar Lockout fund.
Local Union Mail
Throughout the campaign, 1.8 Million pieces of Workers’ Voice and National AFL-CIO direct mail.  Key targets were active members, retirees and union households.  The races targeted were President, US Senate, CD 6, CD 16 and GOTV Slate piece.    Over 1 Million pieces of local union mail were sent in addition to the Workers’ Voice and AFL-CIO direct mail.
An important goal for our program in this cycle was to grow the pool of activists at the worksite level and to build a comprehensive list of worksite coordinators and activists.  The worksite program was headed by a Statewide Worksite Coordinator located at the headquarters in Columbus.   This position was in charge of tracking and recording all worksite activity throughout the state.  Along with the Statewide Worksite Coordinator, Zone Leads were asked to work with CLC principals and Local Union leadership to identify and map worksites and activists.  
Locals participated in worksite leafleting and education throughout the summer by circulating redistricting petitions.   At a state level, the campaign ran four worksite blitz weeks -  Week of September 10th, Week of October 5th, Week of October 19th, GOTV Blitz.   Zone Leads, worksite coordinators and local union leadership utilized the Working Families Toolkit to modify and print flyers for worksite leafleting. 
Zone Number of Worksite Actions
Zone 1 624
Zone 2 844
Zone 3 497
Zone 4 297
Zone 5 231
Zone 6 375
Zone 7 564
Total Number of Worksite  Actions 3432
Tele-Town Halls
A new strategy of the labor campaign program in Ohio is the use of tele-town halls to engage locals and affiliates and to reach members.   The campaign held 18 tele-town halls to active members and retirees hosted by Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga and union leaders.  The tele-town halls were both union specific and sector specific.    In addition the Ohio AFL-CIO held a tele-town hall with union members and retirees and Senator Sherrod Brown. 

[Ed. Note: Ohio Campaigns Director Austin Keyser directed the Election 2012 effort for the AFL-CIO in the state starting in June 2011.  He previously served as secretary/treasurer of the Shawnee District Labor Council, AFL-CIO and business manager for IBEW in Portsmouth, Ohio].

PRESS RELEASE from National Coalition on Black Voter Participation

All media inquiries, please contact Edrea Davis
Jul 20, 2012

Ohio Unity Coalition Kicks-Off Voter Empowerment Tour Featuring Hi-Tech Mobile Voter Registration Unit Traveling the State

Multiple Cities, Ohio - A coalition of faith, labor, civil and voter rights groups along with community activists launched the Stand Your Ground… Vote, 2012 Ohio Voter Empowerment Tour in Cincinnati this past weekend dispatching a mobile voter registration unit staffed by trained volunteers to various community events to help register new voters, verify voter's registration status, and provide citizens with non-partisan information about the upcoming election.

"We registered over 100 new voters over the weekend," says Petee Talley, convener of the Ohio Unity Coalition. "Thirty volunteers were trained on the process to register voters and looking up individual voter registration information to verify voter registration status. In addition to registering and verifying status, we are targeting voters who have moved or changed their names allowing them to update their registration."

Cincinnati is the first stop of a multi-city tour across Ohio. Other cities on the tour include: Dayton, Columbus, Youngstown, Akron, Cleveland, Lorain and Toledo. The mobile unit will remain in each city 7 to 10 days.

Election advocates estimate that as many as 1.3 million Ohio voters have been purged from the voter rolls since the last presidential election cycle. The Stand Your Ground… Vote, 2012 Ohio Voter Empowerment Tour is one of the many vehicles the Ohio Unity Coalition will employ to educate voters and make sure eligible voters are prepared to fully participate in the fall 2012 election.

Unity Coalition partners include: Corinthian Baptist Church, The Cincinnati Labor Council, The Cincinnati Chapter of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, AFL-CIO, AMOS, AFSCME, Greater New Hope Baptist Church, United Pastors In Mission, Youngstown Community Mobilization Coalition, Ohio Prince Hall Masons, Baptist Pastors Conference of Greater Cincinnati, and State Representative Alicia Reece.

Local leaders were excited to partner in this effort stated Pastor KZ Smith of Corinthian Baptist Church. “Every person needs to be able to exercise their voice and their vote in this election." Pastor Smith continued, "If we do our part to educate and engage voters, we are empowering them to use the vote that many of us fought so hard to obtain. Our rights have been threatened by voter suppression tactics in recent years and this is our way to Stand Our Ground.”

The Ohio Unity Coalition is an affiliate of the national Unity Voter Empowerment Campaign covened by the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation ( The Unity Campaign works nationally with APRI, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Cost of Freedom Project, Black Youth Vote, and other groups to ensure that Black voters are prepared for the presidential election. For details about tour stops in Ohio or for more information about the Unity Coalition email, text "unity12" to 69302, or call toll free at 1-888-614-0844.