Today, we learned that Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted conspired with big business to undercut our proposed amendment to raise Ohio’s minimum wage. We’re disappointed and angry on behalf of working people in Ohio, particularly the 32% of Ohio workers paid less than $12 per hour, and the women and minority workers disproportionately relegated to poverty-wage jobs.
Stand Up for Ohio and our partners across the state sought an amendment to raise Ohio’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2021 through stepped increases. Our proposal would also have eliminated the tipped sub-minimum wage by 2023. After collecting the initial signatures for the initiative and filing our proposed 2016 ballot language with the Secretary of State’s office, our coalition made a strategic decision to focus on voter registration efforts in 2016 and to attempt to raise the minimum wage in 2018. Our sister organization, the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, registered more than 184,000 Ohioans to vote between August of 2015 and October 2016.
Meanwhile, our secretary of state and his staff plotted with big business and Republican strategists to defeat our proposed minimum wage increase:
“After a minimum-wage campaign accelerated last year in Ohio, emails show, Jon A. Husted, the secretary of state, communicated with an Ohio Chamber of Commerce affiliate as the business group discussed plans with the restaurant industry to ‘meet and strategize’ about its opposition effort.”
It’s deeply troubling that our secretary of state—an elected official entrusted with our elections and expected to be impartial—would engage in secret conversations to strategize against Ohio workers. His actions not only hurt working families, they undermine our democracy.
This is not the first time Jon Husted has conspired against low income Ohioans and communities of color. From supporting and implementing policies that make it harder for Ohioans to vote, to scheming with billionaire donors to suppress wages for the poorest Ohioans, our secretary of state has made it clear who he answers to, and it’s not us.
Stand Up For Ohio will continue to work to hold elected officials like Jon Husted accountable and ensure that Ohio raises its minimum wage.
Stand Up for Ohio is a nonprofit coalition of community, labor, civil rights, and environmental groups committed to building a coordinated movement for racial, social, and economic justice in Ohio.