A union representing 4,000 state workers in Ohio has approved a contract with the state that extends their current labor agreement until 2015. The Service Employees International Union, District 1199, is the second union to swiftly reach a deal with the state following the rejection of collective bargaining restrictions by voters in November. The union represents registered nurses, parole officers and others. The current contract expires at the end of May, and the state's Controlling Board has already signed off on the agreement.
Ohio's unemployment rate went down for the third month in a row in January thanks to continued strength in the state's health care sector. Joblessness fell to 7.7 percent in January, down from an adjusted 7.9 percent in December, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said Friday. Payrolls outside of farms rose 32,800 over the last month to 5.1 million, the state said. The total number of unemployed people decreased by 11,000 from December to January.