Jun 29, 2011 9:27 AM GMT
I love waking up to good news! I expect this will be the first of many actions to reverse union busting measures.
New York TimesPush to Repeal Ohio Law on Public Workers Gains Ground
By SABRINA TAVERNISE
An effort in Ohio to repeal a law reducing the power of public workers to bargain collectively moved forward this week, with the group leading the effort saying it had enough signatures to put it on the ballot and could deliver them to the state on Wednesday.
Volunteers from We Are Ohio, a coalition of public and private sector workers, collected 714,137 signatures over about two months, said Melissa Fazekas, a spokeswoman for the group. Some will probably be declared invalid by county officials, but the number is still far more than the approximately 230,000 required to get the measure on the ballot in November, she said.
The law, Senate Bill 5, was introduced this spring by a Republican member of Ohio’s Senate. Similar to legislation in Wisconsin, it sought to limit the bargaining power of public workers in order to give local governments more control over their costs. Its passage struck a nerve, and Democrats promised to put it on the ballot this fall, arguing that it dealt a blow to an already weakened middle class.
The bill would reverse decades of practice in labor disputes, by making it illegal to strike, and allowing public employees to bargain only if their employer chose to do so. Unlike Wisconsin’s law, Ohio’s also applied to the police and firefighters.
The group collected signatures from all 88 counties, Ms. Fazekas said, and it will now be up to the Board of Elections in each county to determine how many are valid. She said the group did its own small sampling, which showed that about 60 percent of the signatures were valid.
“We’ve been blown away by the response,” she said. “Almost everyone knows a police officer, a firefighter, a teacher.”