Ohio Governor John Kasich says he’s taking “a deep breath” after voters overwhelmingly rejected a state law he supported placing limits on collective bargaining for government workers.
Union supporters are praising the vote that rejected Senate Bill 5, a law that would have prohibited strikes by public-sector unions, ended binding arbitration, stopped promotions based totally on seniority, and made other changes. The law, which would have affected teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other public workers, had not yet taken effect. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, the vote was 61 percent to 39 percent to reject the law, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
“I’ve heard their voices, I understand their decision, and, frankly, I respect what people have to say in an effort like this,” Kasich told the Associated Press. “And as a result of that, it requires me to take a deep breath, you know, and to spend some time reflecting on what happened here.”
As Kasich and other supporters of the law considered their next move, union supporters celebrated the vote.
“This vote indicates Ohioans not only support public employees, but they also understand that we have been problem solvers and have done so by making more than $1 billion in sacrifices in just the last three years,” said Ohio Education Association President Patricia Frost-Brooks.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who had worked in the campaign against the law, also applauded the vote. “Ohioans from all backgrounds and political parties rejected the crazy notion that the 99 percent — nurses, bridge inspectors, firefighters, and social workers — caused the economic collapse, rather than Wall Street,” he said.
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