Ohio state senators narrowly approved a bill that would prohibit public-employee unions representing 400,000 state employees from bargaining over health benefits, pensions and working conditions.
While national attention has focused for weeks on a similar battle in Wisconsin, the vote, by 17-16 in Ohio’s Republican-controlled Senate, virtually ensured that the Buckeye State will become the first to strip collective bargaining rights from public employees as a means of grappling with gaping budget deficits.
The bill now goes to the House, where the Republicans have a 59-40 majority. If approved, as expected, it will move for signature to Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who supports the bill.
[...]Republican lawmakers say worker pay and benefit cuts are needed to offset projected budget shortfalls. “If we’re going to grow in Ohio, we cannot raise taxes,” Republican state Sen. Keith Faber said Wednesday.
[...]Union officials began a coordinated effort to try to block bills in Wisconsin and Ohio that would curtail collective bargaining rights for public workers, and right-to-work legislation introduced in 13 states, including New Hampshire and Missouri. Those bills would allow workers in the private-sector to opt out of paying dues or belonging to a union. Such legislation threatens the unions’ funding and their political clout heading into the 2012 elections.
In Wisconsin, Republican state senators passed a resolution fining the 14 Democrats who left the state Feb. 17 to prevent a vote on Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s bill restricting public employees’ collective-bargaining rights. The vote on the resolution didn’t require a quorum, unlike the budget bill that would curb bargaining.
The Wisconsin Democrats, who are in Illinois, will be fined $100 a day for their absence when the Senate is in session. Several of the Democrats went to Kenosha, Wis., Monday to meet with Republican Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, said Fitzgerald spokesman Andrew Welhouse. But the fines seemed to set back efforts to break the impasse.
Remember that Indiana Republicans are proposing a right-to-work bill, which would allow workers to OPT OUT of paying union dues, which are just used to campaign for Democrats and leftists causes anyway. This bill would break the backs of the unions.
Buckeyes and Badgers and Hoosiers, oh my!