October 29, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Youngstown, OH – Donald Trump has pitched his hopes of winning the Presidency on places like this Northeast Ohio city, whose population has dropped by half since its steel mills closed in the 1970s.
Labor unions in the area, including the United Auto Workers and the Service Employees International Union, are campaigning to prevent that, largely by leafleting and word of mouth. It would be “devastating for the nation if Trump is elected,” Glenn Johnson, president of UAW Local 1112, one of two locals representing workers at the General Motors complex in nearby Lordstown, told the Youngstown Vindicator, adding that Hillary Clinton “would give organized labor a seat at the table.” “I am supporting Hillary Clinton because she supports unions,” Lordstown autoworker Tara Ragozine, 28, said Oct. 20, while Laborers International Union Local 935 member James Ledenko said that “Trump has no respect for women and is no friend to labor.” Johnson said he thought that only “a very small percentage” of union members in the area are backing Trump.” Among those are pipefitter Don Kromer, 56, who said blue-collar workers backing Clinton “makes no sense” because “she’s anti-coal… you have to have it to make steel.” “We’re a force in the election because a high percentage of union members vote,” said William Padisak Jr., president of the Mahoning-Trumbull AFL-CIO Labor Council. He said “one-on-one communications,” talking to people directly, are the best way to connect with members and the community, because “union members don’t like to be told who to vote for” without being told why. Read more