The push to repeal Ohio’s anti-collective bargaining law (called Senate Bill 5) will be one of the biggest battles in the country this Election Day. The law’s supporters and opponents are expected to spend in total more than $20 million in the fight.
Supporters say the law is vital to curb labor’s power and to hold down state and local compensation costs during an era of increasing budget deficits. Opponents, who collected 1.3 million signatures to place the repeal vote on the November 8 ballot, say it unfairly scapegoats public employees, and weakens unions, a powerful ally of the Democrats.
In dozens of towns across Ohio, rival sides have set up phone banks and door-knocking efforts. Unions and their allies have created We Are Ohio, a group leading the repeal effort, which has 10,000 volunteers and hopes a victory will discourage Republicans in other states from adopting anti-union legislation. Mr. Kasich’s allies have created Building a Better Ohio, financed by business and conservative donors, to block repeal.
Senate Bill 5 goes further than the anti-bargaining law Wisconsin’s Republican-led Legislature enacted in March over the protests of tens of thousands of union supporters. Ohio’s law allows only limited bargaining: If management and union do not reach a settlement, city councils and school boards can impose their side’s contract offer unilaterally. The Ohio law bans binding arbitration and bargaining on health coverage, pensions, and staffing levels. It also requires government workers pay at least 15% of their health insurance costs and pay 10% of their salaries toward their pensions.
A prominent Republican opponent of Senate Bill 5, State Senator Bill Seitz, says the bill erases collective bargaining by letting management decide which side’s offer prevails. He said it is like “going to divorce court and finding out your wife’s father is the judge.”
A Quinnipiac poll in September found that Ohioans favor repeal by a thirteen-point margin, 51% to 38%.
- You: In Ohio, a Battle Over Public Employees’ Bargaining Rights (nytimes.com)
- Ohioans To Vote On Collective Bargaining And Health Care (huffingtonpost.com)
- Realizing SB 5 is likely to be repealed, Ohio Gov. Kasich seeks compromise (dailykos.com)
- Now That He’s Losing, Kasich (Kinda) Supports Compromise (crooksandliars.com)
- Opponents of “Vote No on Issue 2” stoop to new low (sdobbie46.wordpress.com)