Ohio Governor Signs Into Law Union-Busting Bill That's Even Worse Than Wisconsin's, Targeting Police and Firefighters

Ohio Governor John Kasich yesterday signed into law a bill aimed at limiting the collective bargaining rights of some 350,000 public employees. And according to the New York Times, the law is even harsher than the one backed by the Wisconsin GOP.

It is perhaps surprising that Ohio faced more limited public demonstrations considering that its bill, which Gov. John R. Kasich signed Thursday, goes further than Wisconsin’s in several important ways.

While both laws severely limit public employees’ ability to bargain collectively — they both prohibit any bargaining over health coverage and pensions — the Ohio law largely eliminates bargaining for the police and firefighters. Wisconsin’s law leaves those two groups’ bargaining rights untouched. Ohio’s law also gives city councils and school boards a free hand to unilaterally impose their side’s final contract offer when management and union fail to reach a settlement.

This is truly vile stuff, and it's flying under the radar for many Americans who may not realize that the union-busting ways of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker are spreading around the country.

The good news is that union members and labor supporters are vowing to launch a ballot-repeal effort. The AP:

Democrats opposed the measure but offered no amendments to it. Instead, they delivered boxes containing more than 65,000 opponent signatures to the House labor committee's chairman.

Many Democrats, along with other opponents, have vowed to lead a ballot-repeal effort if the measure passes. Backers of a ballot challenge have 90 days after Kasich signs the bill to gather 231,148 valid signatures from at least half Ohio's 88 counties to get it on the ballot.

We'll update you as the story progresses. In the meantime, here's a video from last night's Ed Show of Ohio firefighter Wes Spradlin and United Steel Worker Leo Gerard's reactions to the bill:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at April 1, 2011, 7:18am

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