The first lost for Republicans leading the charge against unions and public employees came, not in Wisconsin, in Ohio. Voters took voting booths to reject collective bargaining restrictions put into place by Gov. John Kasich and the Republican-controlled Legislature. It is the first blow in what could turn into a huge issue during the 2012 political season.
Like in Wisconsin, the citizens of Ohio took over the capitol building to voice their concerns over the collective bargaining restrictions. According to the Huffington Post, “The legislation affects more than 350,000 police, firefighters, teachers, nurses and other government workers. It sets mandatory health care and pension minimums for unionized government employees, bans public worker strikes, scraps binding arbitration and prohibits basing promotions solely on seniority.” The Ohio law went a little further than the Wisconsin law in that it included firefighters and the police.
Millions of dollars poured into Ohio for those in favor of the bill and those against it. Those working to get voters to reject collective bargaining restrictions raised $24 million while, Build a Better Ohio, the group for the bill only raised $8 million.
No matter what side of the issue you’re on, it’s always better to work with people to get concessions and results instead of trying to force them. Republicans have overplayed their hand with the union issue. They assumed simply by doing what they want would overwhelm public workers and force them into submission. Instead, it had the opposite effect. Public employees all over the country were galvanized and made collective bargaining an important issue in the upcoming election.
With over 1 million votes cast, 63% of Ohio voters reject collective bargaining restrictions. Gov. Kasich is vowing to continue the fight but there might be consequences. The Republican-controlled Senate in Wisconsin lost two seats during recall elections and the drive to recall Gov. Scott Walker starts November 15. Perhaps this time Gov. Kasich will try working with instead of against public employees.
(Photo Source: Flickr/Matt Baran)