Earlier this month COWC activated our network to call state elected officials to urge them to remove an amendment added to House Bill 27 which would have removed workers compensation benefits to undocumented workers. We know many in our network as well as other organizations made thousands of calls resulting in the Ohio Senate removing the amendment. We are please to say that the Ohio Senate removed this amendment from HB 27! Read more about this from Policy Matters Ohio.
Direct action in the form of calling our representatives works. We express gratitude to each and every one of you in our community that made this happen!
On June 12, the COWC Sanctuary in the Streets team was activated in response to the potential detention/deportation of Bijou Sene from Cincinnati, Ohio who was ordered to appear at the Columbus ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) office.
Bijou, originally from Senegal, and has lived in Cincinnati for over 12 year with her three kids - a daughter age 12 and two sons ages 9 and 3 - all of whom were born in Cincinnati. She is an active member of the Clifton Mosque and she loves Cincinnati. Over the years it has become her home and it is the only home her children have ever known.
The Cincinnati Sanctuary Coalition called on the COWC Sanctuary in the Streets team and within a day was able to help organize a presence of over 30 workers, students, faith leaders, and allies in support of Bijou. Our partners Faith in Public Life helped with local media turnout and this story was published by the Columbus Dispatch. including this great piece by the Columbus Dispatch.
We are happy to report that Bijou was not detained. This was a crucial step in securing that she stays in Cincinnati with her family. The deployment of the COWC Sanctuary in the Streets team alongside other Columbus rapid response teams with a possible deportation case from an immigrant in Cincinnati represents the growing cross-state solidarity and network of immigrant rights groups. It also demonstrates to ICE that residents will show up when needed and on short notice to stand up with our immigrant brothers & sisters.
The Ohio House recently passed, and the Ohio Senate is now considering legislation that would deny workers compensation benefits to undocumented workers who are seriously injured on the job. The bill would also limit undocumented workers access to the courts for injuries suffered on the job. This bill is bad for all Ohio workers, and will work against those employers who comply with the law. If this bill passes, it will reduce the incentive for companies to provide safe conditions for its workers—and serious injuries among Ohio workers in the most dangerous industries will increase.
1) Call State Senators TODAY urging they remove the amendment excluding undocumented workers from receiving workers compensation.
Sample Script: Hello my name is ________________. I am calling with concern to House Bill 27 which includes a provision barring undocumented workers from receiving workers' compensation benefits. This is a denial of safety and security of all workers and lowers the bar in Ohio. I urge you to stand with all Ohio workers by helping to remove the amendment in HB 27 barring undocumented workers.
Find your State Senator HERE
Call ALL of the following Senators with crucial votes:
Likely Movable: Jay Hottinger, R - (614) 466-5838
Robert Hackett, R - (614) 466-3780
Matt Dolan, R - (614) 466-8056
Stephanie Kunze, R - (614) 466-5981
Likely to follow leadership: Kevin Bacon, R - (614) 466-8064
Bill Beagle, R - (614) 466-6247
Likely opponents: Kris Jordan, R - (614) 466-8086
Lou Terhar, R - (614) 466-8068
Unsure, but should contact: Dave Burke, R - (614) 466-8049
Steve Wilson, R - (614) 466-9737
Likely supportive: Edna Brown, D - (614) 466-5204
Schiavoni, D - (614) 466-8285
Sandra Williams, D - (614) 466-4857
2) Join us at the Ohio Statehouse to oppose House Bill 27
Tuesday, June 13 - 9:30am
Finance Hearing Room
More information on House Bill 27
"Organizing for Economic Justice: A Call to Action"
Saturday, May 20 - 9:30am - 3:30pm
Columbus Mennonite Church; 35 Oakland Park Ave Columbus, OH 43214
Why should workers organize? How can we build a diverse and inclusive economic justice movement? How does international trade policy hurt workers in Ohio? What is the Central Ohio Worker Center doing to address worker rights here in Columbus?
Together we will explore these questions in a summit bringing together labor leaders, workers, and local activists involved in the struggle for economic justice.
Tiffany Dena Loftin: Former Racial Justice Program Coordinator for the Civil Rights; AFL-CIO. Senior Program Specialist; National Education Association
Dan Kovalik: Senior Associate General Counsel, United Steel Workers
Jon Wentz: Union Attorney, Barkan Meizlish LLP
Rubén Castilla Herrera: Organizer, Director of the Central Ohio Worker Center.
*** A FREE healthy lunch with be provided to all registered participants ***
Early yesterday morning over 100 immigrants and allies gathered in the pouring rain for a March & Rally for "Un Dia Sin Inmigrantes" (A Day Without Immigrants). COWC is proud to have partnered with Red Migrante Ohio - an immigrant-led community organization - to make this event happen. On the steps of the Ohio Statehouse, immigrants shared their stories and struggles with a resolve to defend and protect one another.
Later in the day as the rain cleared, over 100 workers, immigrants, students, and allies gathered for to show that Columbu is a #SolidarityCity. Our march stepped off toward the Ohio Union in support of the Ohio State Student/Farmworker Alliance and their campaign to cut OSU's contract with Wendy's for their refusal to support farmworkers by partnering with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.
The march then arrived outside of an AT&T store in support of Communication Workers of America (CWA) - Local 4320. A lively picket was held demanding a fair contract for the over 45,000 AT&T employees demanding just wages, conditions, and benefits.
The march ended with a cookout and workers/immigrants sharing their stories and the importance of coming together to resist exploitation & hatred in the current political climate.
May Day 2017 ended with a call to ACTION. The Central Ohio Worker Center launched our Restaurant Worker Survey project with the goal of collecting over 500 surveys from restaurant workers this year. Participants signed up to join us on one of our upcoming canvasses to reach out to low-wage restaurant workers and collect data on wages, conditions, and industry trends.