The Right Takes a Hit in Ohio

By Jeffrey Page
For reasons other than the obvious, I wish Al Page were alive today, sitting at his table, sipping his coffee, and reading the story in the Times about what the great people of Ohio have done.

They basically told the governor, John Kasich, and his Tea Party pals around the country that you don’t ask the voters to go along with you as you try to bust a union representing people who work for the public good. People such as cops and teachers. People such as firefighters and highway workers.

By a resounding vote, Ohioans took a state law that severely restricted public workers’ rights to bargain collectively, and tossed it right where it belongs, in with the soiled diapers, sour milk, rotten cheese and the rest of the trash that other public service workers – sanitation men – haul away.

Al Page was a furrier a long time ago when wearing fur was more acceptable than it is now. He took mink skins and turned them into coats. He was good at it, so good that he was assigned by his bosses on 57th Street to make a mink coat for the wife of King Farouk of Egypt.

Al was a member of a not especially strong furriers union, which, when it seemed like it was going out of business, affiliated with a butchers union. He often complained about working for one of the foremost fur salons in the world – one that made huge amounts of money – and then, around Christmas every year, being rewarded with a bottle of Scotch. What he needed was higher pay, but the boss didn’t listen. Still, Al understood that a weak union was better than no union.

Having survived the Great Depression he was a union man through and through, whose advice as far back as I can remember was that there was strength in organizing.

In the Sixties, when the New York Post called to say the job I had applied for, as a copyboy, was available, I grabbed it. It would pay $48 a week. Only later did I understand the drudgery of my hours: 1 in the morning to 8 in the morning. For working that shift, I got an additional $1 a night.

I started complaining almost immediately.

Al urged forbearance and said I should guess what my pay would be if the Newspaper Guild had never organized the Post. He said I should guess how much night differential would be, or if would be any at all. And anyway, the lousy pay wouldn’t last forever.

I think Al Page would have savored the story in the Times about the Radical Right’s historic train wreck in Ohio, where voters informed Kasich and his friends that public workers are not to be toyed with, that they deserve respect and that they are not the cause of the miserable economy.

I’m sure he would have delighted in the numbers. Sixty-two percent voted to kill that stinking law.

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3 Responses to “The Right Takes a Hit in Ohio”

  1. Jo Galante Cicale Says:

    It was a refreshing and encouraging vote. I hope it leads to a reinvigorated labor movement. People who work without a union don’t have any understanding that unions have lifted all workers’ conditions. And yeah to Mississippi too! There’s flickers of hopefulness.

  2. RichGigli Says:


    Great subject on Ohioans totally rejecting the bully tactics of the Tea Party on union busting. Hopefully this Ohio election mandate will move to New Jersey and through all who oppose unions “right where it belongs, in with the soiled diapers, sour milk, rotten cheese and the rest of the trash that other public service workers – sanitation men – haul away.”
    Love the writing.

  3. Barbara Hafner Says:

    Go Ohio, Don’t let them take away our only voice that we have left… Our forefathers fought to unionize. Let us remember our past history….. Do we want this for our Children……No

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