Ohio gov seeks to stop union law repeal effort

Ohio Gov. John Kasich and top Republican lawmakers said Wednesday they're offering to weaken a new law limiting collective bargaining in an attempt to keep a repeal effort off the November ballot.
Associated Press
Sep 15, 2011

Ohio Gov. John Kasich and top Republican lawmakers said Wednesday they're offering to weaken a new law limiting collective bargaining in an attempt to keep a repeal effort off the November ballot.

Kasich's administration released a letter asking for a meeting Friday to discuss a compromise with 10 union leaders authorized to negotiate on behalf of We Are Ohio, the group pushing for a repeal of the law. Kasich, Senate President Tom Niehaus, and House Speaker William Batchelder discussed the letter at a hastily called afternoon news conference.

The two-page letter reiterates supporters' backing for the collective bargaining overhaul and their confidence they can win in the fall, but it also signals a desire to avoid a costly ballot battle.

Kasich, a first-term Republican, told reporters he thought the state was headed in the right direction.

"But a divisive fight on these issues that could possibly be avoided is in the best interest of everyone, including public employees and people who support public employees."

In the letter, Kasich and the legislative leaders say voters and bond rating agencies have been increasingly frustrated with political brinksmanship in Washington surrounding the debate in Congress over the nation's debt limit.

"We have a fleeting opportunity in Ohio to take the higher road," they wrote.

We Are Ohio spokeswoman Melissa Fazekas said the group continues to oppose the collective bargaining measure and called on lawmakers to rescind it if they want to see the repeal question removed from the Nov. 8 ballot.

"I think it's awfully funny to now be standing here and talking about coming to the table when this entire bill takes away their rights to do so," she said.

The law restricts collective bargaining rights for more than 350,000 teachers, police officers, state employees and others. It bans public employee strikes and gets rid of automatic pay increases, replacing them with merit raises or performance pay.

It also allows public worker unions to negotiate wages, but not health care, sick time or pension benefits.

The measure was approved by the Republican-controlled state Legislature in March amid shouts and jeers from protesters in each chamber. Kasich, a first-term governor, signed it the same month, but it is blocked from taking effect until voters have their say.

His offer for a compromise came after a Wisconsin law limiting collective bargaining rights for most state employees prompted voters last week to recall two Republican state senators who supported it. They were among six lawmakers whom labor leaders had targeted.

Kasich and his Republican colleagues argue the Ohio legislation will help city officials, school superintendents and others control their costs at a time when they, too, are feeling budget woes.

Opponents contend the collective bargaining restrictions are an unfair attack on public employee unions that had worked cooperatively with their government employers for decades. They accuse lawmakers of exploiting a state budget crisis to pass a measure unpopular with a majority of Ohioans.

Senate Democratic Leader Capri Cafaro, whose caucus opposed the measure, interpreted Wednesday's letter as an admission by Kasich that it is flawed.

"The time to negotiate was during the legislative process, not 197 days after (the bill) was first introduced," Cafaro said. "Unfortunately, it has taken too long for the governor and GOP leaders to acknowledge they overreached."

The state has 655,000 union members, who constitute 13.7 percent of the work force, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's more than the U.S. average rate of 11.9 percent.

Ohio lawmakers have been on summer break since early July, and they would have to be called back to Columbus to take any action on the legislation.

Batchelder told reporters that he would not have a problem asking members to return for a repeal vote. "Whatever we have to do to get it done," he said.

"I hate what's about to happen here," Batchelder said after the news conference. "This is going to be the damnedest mess anybody ever saw in terms of relationship between government and public employees."

The most recent campaign filing reports show that the group seeking the repeal has raised about $7 million.

The state's labor groups representing teachers, police officers and firefighters have also turned to their members to help pay for the repeal campaign.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll found that 56 percent of Ohio voters say the new collective bargaining law should be repealed, compared with 32 percent who favor keeping it in place.

Comments

Peninsula Pundit

"I hate what's about to happen here," Batchelder said after the news conference. "This is going to be the damnedest mess anybody ever saw in terms of relationship between government and public employees."

I guess he shoulda thought of that BEFORE shoving this down the throats of Ohioans.

Typical GOP, typical Kasick.

NJOYLIFE

 

Agree

 

Itsntallaboutu

I see the "NUT" is at it again.   I bet he will never be re-elected.   He should have been taken out of office as soon as he got there.   Whoever voted for this man is beyond me.

donutshopguy

 I think this should go before the voters as it was passed.

 The public votes and we move forward with or without SB 5.

What I would give to have someone in government stand up for what they believe in.

observer
Itsntallaboutu says

I see the "NUT" is at it again.   I bet he will never be re-elected.   He should have been taken out of office as soon as he got there.   Whoever voted for this man is beyond me.

 

 

 

Whatt???? This isn't about OBAMA!   LOL

 

the office cat

Before repealing SB5 IN ITS ENTIRETY, first REPEAL all the sections of the budget which contain many of the provisions in Sb5.

Did he really think we would not notice the attacks on public unions built into the budget?

44846GWP

We have the Republicans on the ropes now, don't let up, no compromise!!

bucknut36

 Hey, King Kasich, let the people decide! These politicians forget they are supposed to work for us!

Taxpayer2800

Stop the union war on the taxpayer.  Remember, public service union workers are tax consumers.  Our employees.

MHL

Repeal SB 5 ,Then repeal Kasich!!!!!!!!!

reader

On the state and national front the Republican party has attempted to use the concern about the deficit to crush union rights and weaken the middle class. 

As Mitch McConnell openly admitted after the 2010 election, his goal has been to ensure President Obama is a one term president.  Nothing about leading the country out of the worst economic crisis since the great depression of the 1930's..... just hell bent on weakening the president to lead to his defeat in 2012.

Its amazing....those same Republicans had no reservations about approving increases in the national debt limit for our previous president who started two wars on our credit card.

And Kasich jumped on the band wagon when he saw what the Republicans were able to do in Wisconsin.  And he wants to privatize the turnpike, prisons, schools....all so his campaign contributors can reap massive profits from the people of Ohio.

Repeal SB 5 and throw the bums out in 2012 !

devilsadvocate

Ten people can actually get this OFF the ballot?  Hope Kasich doesn't buy them off like he buys off eveyrone else

origen

Hey look folks the 16% of the population is trying to force the rest of us to pay them !!! Seems the dont understand that whole "majority" thing yet. I am a majority of 16% and i teach math !!! And people wonder why kids dont know how to count.

9299

 This is the same Batchelder who was asked earlier this year if he would favor a reduction in legislative pay (5% i think) at the same time that public employees were taking wage freezes and benefit cuts (many negotiated at bargaining tables), furloughs and layoffs and replied that he wouldn't consider it because he "works hard for his money".  This is a guy who has been on the public payroll for thirty years, benefitted from a good salary and benefits and will receive good benefits in retirement.

Apparently the "tools" that will be given to local gov'ts (meaning wage cuts, benefit cuts, etc) aren't to be used on Batchelder or his colleagues like they are to be used on all other public employees if SB 5 passes.

 

eriemom

Dale Butland, spokesman for the liberal think tank Innovation Ohio, questioned the sincerity of the Republicans' offer to negotiate.

"I think that it is a clumsy attempt to paint union workers as uncompromising and intransigent, but I think Ohioans are smarter than that," he said. "They know that a governor who calls police officers `idiots' and promises to `break the back' of teachers isn't interested in compromise."

Repeal the bill.

origen

Never paint anyone anything without a union official there is just the way they like it !!! lol

http://news.yahoo.com/union-organizer-suspected-shooting-non-union-ohio-employer-052606083.html

goofus
eriemom

 Goofus and origen: One nut case is all you have?

It seems to me that even though SB 5 only directly effects 16% of Ohio's population, most working class folk understand why it is an attack on the middle class. Read through some of the negative posts and you will find a majority of them come from management job-holders or business owners. Folks who work for another get the attitude.

Transigent workers might suggest that if Mr. Kasick wants to sit down and talk he might consider taking out a full page newspaper apology, such as the one that he demanded. Uncompromising? Doesn't negotiation demand compromise and that is what he is against. His attitude is the same as yours. You work for me and therefore you will do as I demand, and do it a minimal cost to me. Real compomise comes when the two parties recognise one another as equals.

reader

Kasich took office and hired all his department heads at much higher salaries than under the previous administration and actually cut the salaries of secretaries and lower staff members.

What's good for Ohio is only good for the working people.....the wage and benefit cuts.

No sacrifice for the governor's cronies and pals..... just the middle class working people.

origen

http://www.laborunionreport.com/portal/ Web site full of them, The marxist ones are the best where they say "beat their heads in with crowbars and let them know we are on strike"  I think thats awesome !!! Maybe a little research on your part would see how corrupt the unions are.

goofus

Hmmm, one nut case? Tell me you aren't talking about the business owner who was attacked? This was  just the latest, you really don't want me to bring up all the SEIU beatdowns do you. I thought this was america and business owners have the freedom to run it as he or she wants to. If he wasn't paying a good wage, how can he staff his business?

whaa

I don't mind my tax dollars paying for police, firefighters, emts vacation ,  health care and retirement.  I do mind paying for teachers and state workers health care, vacations, and retirement.  I cannot afford my own retirement , healthcare and vacation. Union is just a  bunch of spoiled, overpaid, big cry babies! whaaa.

 

Kimo

 

No Deal.

No SB5

We will remember come November!

Don S

Where in the H_LL have these people been ? Wages have always tied to health care, pentions, and sick time as a money package, whenever it was connvienant to the management. Public employee unions now, then how long will it  be to attack the private companies unions ???? The repeal of SB 5 WILL cause a mess that was started by Kasick. What a pompus ass!!!!!! Lay the blame on his inflexabal shoulders.

man4451

 

 

SB5 SB-5 Senate Bill 5

 

Guaranteed to RAISE your TAXES

retired

Let's see... SB 5 gets put on a fast track and is passed with little discussion.  Now Kasich and his cronies in the general assembly want to talk?  Too late!  Repeal SB 5!!

Alford Plea

Kasich already said he didn't care if he was not re-elected.  Batchelder should know his days are numbered too.  He has been a much bigger leach on the taxpayers than the public employees he casts the blame on now. 

 

Alford Plea

Stop the bus or continue driving it toward that cliff Kasich.

wasthere

I want it on the ballot. I think the unions don't have the support that they think they do. Let's let the people decide.

Lived it

I do not work for a union, but I can tell you that I will vote to get SB5 overturned.  Vote NO on SB5

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