BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) — Not long after he was elected Ohio’s Governor, John Kasich came out strongly in support of Senate Bill 5.
Remember it? SB5 would have taken away many of the bargaining options of Ohio’s public employee unions.
It got trounced. The people of Ohio wanted nothing to do with it and you would have thought the unions would have wanted nothing to do with John Kasich.
But four years later, that is not the case.
It is no secret that labor unions traditionally support the Democratic candidate.
But Thursday, Governor Kasich received his third union endorsement, which came from the Ohio Laborers District Council.
When Kasich got to the pipeline construction site in Boardman on Thursday, he said he didn’t want to talk to the guys in the suits.
He wanted to hear from the laborers, like Bob Chatterson, who was happy to tell the governor some of his concerns.
“Mostly it’s about having Ohio people doing the work in Ohio,” Chatterson said.
Chatterson said he worries about people coming from out of state and even out of the country for pipeline jobs.
“Infrastructure work is very important. It’s important to the state. And who better to do the work in Ohio than the people who are going to use the infrastructure,” Chattterson said.
Kasich told Chatterson and everyone here he is already working to make sure gas companies are hiring Ohioans.
“At the end of the day, we want Ohioans doing the work here in Ohio. This is our stuff,” Kasich said.
It is moves like that that led the Ohio Laborers District Council to throw its support behind the governor.
“We’re for the workers in Ohio. We don’t care what party you’re in. We’re for labor,” Kasich said.
And with the council seeing a 15 percent increase in man hours since Kasich took office, that is a feeling that is echoed by many here.
“I don’t care if you’re democrat, republican, libertarian, vegetarian or just landed on the state house lawn from mars, if you’re going to put our members to work, we’re going to support you,” said Kenny Holland, Ohio Laborers District Council secretary and treasurer.
Kasich said he wants to see the state and Youngstown continue to grow.
“That’s my job. Not to leave anyone in the shadows. Whether they have a mental illness, whether they’re drug addicted, whether they’re working poor. Everyone needs to feel like they have a chance,” Kasich said.