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Robert Higgs
By Robert Higgs March 5, 2013

Kasich not talking about collective bargaining overhaul

We haven"t examined Gov. John Kasich"s promise to revamp the state"s collective bargaining law since 2011, when he signed Senate Bill 5, the divisive law scaling back collective bargaining for public workers.

It seemed like a good time to revisit that promise in view of this week"s strike by Strongsville public school teachers.

Kasich, who championed Senate Bill 5, said before he took office that public employees who go on strike over labor disputes should automatically lose their jobs. Among Senate Bill 5"s many provisions was one that would have prohibited all public employees from striking.

But the law never went into effect. Democrats and labor groups united in a referendum campaign, and Ohio voters responded by overwhelmingly repealing the law, which was on the ballot in November 2011 as Issue 2.

"It"s clear the people have spoken,” the Republican governor said on election night. "I heard their voices. I understand their decision.”  

The following month, Kasich said he had accepted the defeat and had moved on to other issues. Since then, he has rarely, if ever, discussed the issue publicly, although he did support a bill last year allowing Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson to launch a reform plan for the Cleveland public schools. That plan includes some provisions reminiscent of Senate Bill 5, but they apply only to the Cleveland school district.

For the most part, however, Kasich spent 2012 changing the subject from Senate Bill 5 and focusing on issues such as jobs, worker retraining, tax restructuring and other initiatives he hopes will help Ohio continue to rebound economically.

When we asked Kasich"s office this week to comment about Senate Bill 5 in view of the Strongsville teachers strike, a spokesman declined our request.

So as for the governor"s promise to revamp the state"s collective bargaining law, which had been rated as In the Works, we"ll move the dial to Stalled.

Mark Naymik
By Mark Naymik April 1, 2011

Kasich signs collective bargaining overhaul bill

Gov. John Kasich has made it clear that dismantling Ohio"s nearly 30-year-old collective bargaining law will be a top priority of his administration.

He has repeatedly called for the elimination of  binding arbitration, often used to settle police and fire department salary and benefits disputes that he says are costly and bankrupting cities.

"You are forcing increased taxes on taxpayers with them having no say,” Kasich said in December before he took office.

Kasich also said that public employees who go on strike over labor disputes should automatically lose their jobs.

"If they want to strike, they should be fired,” Kasich said last year. "I really don't favor the right to strike by any public employee. They've got good jobs, they've got high pay, they get good benefits, a great retirement. What are they striking for?”

The Republican governor on Thursday signed Senate Bill 5, a GOP-sponsored measure introduced this year that scales back collective bargaining for public workers. Among other things, the bill eliminates binding arbitration and prohibits all public employees from striking.

Democratic and union leaders, who have staged protests at the Statehouse with thousands of workers, have condemned the bill as an attack on the middle class and have vowed to overturn it.

But Kasich, whose recently unveiled budget proposal slashes state aid to local governments, has promoted the legislation as a tool for communities to cut costs and maintain services.

Based on the bill"s approval, we move the Kasich-O- Meter for this promise to In the Works.


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