Protests against the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the legislation and conservative policies they write and champion will be held April 29 at Fountain Square in Cincinnati. The event has been dubbed “See You in Cincinnati.”
Scott Gabbard Seedorg, a member of the protest’s press team, said “See You in Cincinnati” will be an organized day of resistance against ALEC, which is a right-wing leaning group of unelected officials who collaborate to protect corporate interests.
ALEC creates and drafts legislation that favors oil companies, pharmaceutical companies, and other big name corporations, for use by conservative state representatives, Seedorg said.
“The protest will be held in Cincinnati because the think tank will be having a strategy session in the city,” Seedorg said.
Some of the issues that will be protested at “See You in Cincinnati” include anti-immigration laws, environmental protection, healthcare, voter suppression laws and Senate Bill 5, Seedorg said.
“Senate Bill 5 (SB 5) is a comprehensive bill addressing public employees paid through the state of Ohio through taxpayer dollars,” Rep. Lynn Slaby (R-41) said.
This bill clarifies the percentage that an employee would pay to their retirement program, as well as what can and cannot be bargained in a collective setting, Slaby said.
“Typically, public employee unions bargain for salaries and wages.” Slaby said. “With SB 5 they can still bargain for wages, but they can no longer strike if they cannot get their benefits.”
Slaby said the bill is under protest because of “misinformation.”
“Unions believe that they have the right to strike and the consequences of the bill are misunderstood,” Slaby said.
Seedorg said SB 5 was passed and signed by Governor John Kasich and there is an effort to revoke it using a citizen repeal on the fall ballot.
“Citizens were not aware when they voted in their republican representatives that these anti bargaining and collection laws would be the result,” Seedorg said.
Seedorg also said the majority of the organizers of the event are students.
“I encourage students to get involved because students will be inheriting the policies of ALEC, especially for Ohio because of the lasting impact on the state,” Seedorg said. “Ohio has a hard time keeping students in the state and the policies created by ALEC are not helping.”
Miami University senior and Co-President of College Democrats, Stephen Kostyo, recommends students attend the protest in Cincinnati.
“I encourage students to go and have an open discussion to expose groups such as ALEC,” Kostyo said. “It is a way to assess our influences, as students.”
Seedorg said the people of Ohio can do better than the ALEC legislation and that a part of the “See You in Cincinnati” protest is to educate and empower the people, not just corporations.