Just a week after voters sided with unions and voted down a collective bargaining reform law, the state and its largest state employee union have reached a tentative deal. But as Ohio Public Radio’s Karen Kasler reports, the governor isn’t saying much about how and why that happened.
The tentative deal with the 34,000 member Ohio Civil Service Employees Association marks the first time since the collective bargaining law passed in 1983 that a state contract was extended. OCSEA leaders credited the defeat of Issue 2 with allowing them to better negotiate their contract. Backers of Issue 2 had said the law was needed to help control costs.
Karen Kasler: So I asked Gov. John Kasich if the contract deal is the right one right now.
Gov. Kasich: I will only say that I think it’s a fair, um, fair deal for the employees and for the taxpayers of the state. That’s all I have to say about it.
Kasler (off mic): Can the state afford it?
Gov. Kasich: That’s all….that’s all I have to say about it.
Kasler: The governor started to walk away, but then turned back around to add this:
Kasich: “We’re in a position where we’re always willing to listen. We don’t shut anybody out.”
Kasler: And finally he said:
Kasich: “I’ll meet with any of the labor folks. Frankly, they would be surprised how comfortable I am with them because that’s where I come from. Not from the white collar CEO, but from a background that’s blue collar and labor.”
As he’s mentioned several times, Gov. Kasich’s father was a postal carrier.