In an election watched nationally, labor unions are celebrating one of their biggest victories in decades after turning back an Ohio law that curbed collective bargaining rights for the state's public workers. Issue 2 was defeated last night by a 61 to 39 percent margin.
The law signed in late March by Republican Gov. John Kasich would have banned public employee strikes, scrapped binding arbitration, and denied public workers the ability to negotiate pensions and health care benefits.
By a vote of 61% to 39 voters said kill the law. It would have given management the final say in long running impasses, used job performance to determine pay and lay offs, and out law strikes.
“People have stood up and said do not treat our public employees this way. we respect our firefighters, we respect our police officers, our teachers, our nurses, our bus drivers, the people that work at our schools, the people that plow our streets and they know what’s best for their cities. Give them a voice at the table,” says Cincinnati firefighter Dirk Sterns.
Early returns show that Ohio's new law limiting the collective bargaining abilities of 350,000 unionized public workers has been defeated after an expensive union-backed campaign that pitted firefighters, police officers and teachers against the state's Republican establishment.
The law hadn't taken effect yet. It was thrown out Tuesday amid high turnout in a year without a presidential election. Current union rules will stand until the GOP-controlled Legislature plans its next move.
Ohio’s new law that slashes the power of public employee unions has sparked one of the most bitter debates in modern Ohio history. Voters now have the chance to endorse it or kill it when they vote on state issue 2. Yesterday, statehouse correspondent Bill Cohen recalled for us how this measure got onto the ballot. Today, in part 2 of his wrap-up series, we hear pro and con arguments on some of the new law’s many provisions.
Some call it a common sense law to control government labor costs and help over-burdened taxpayers. Others call it an attack on public employees, unions, and the whole middle class. Both sides are talking about the same thing: State Issue 2. It’s on the ballot so voters can either endorse or kill the new collective bargaining law that Republicans pushed through the legislature. Part one of a two part series from Ohio Public Radio's Bill Cohen.