Ohio Voters Reject Controversial Anti-Union Law
WASHINGTON — Ohioans overturned a divisive anti-union law on Tuesday, delivering a significant defeat to Republican Gov. John Kasich and a victory to labor unions.
Ohio voters rejected Issue 2, a ballot referendum on Senate Bill 5, a measure that restricts collective bargaining rights for more than 360,000 public employees, among other provisions. Opposition to the legislation inspired large protests from residents around the state this year.
Ohio governor John Kasich had to following to say:
“The people have spoken clearly. You don’t ignore the public. Look, I also have an obligation to lead. I’ve been leading since the day I took this office, and I’ll continue to do that. But part of leading is listening and hearing what people have to say to you.”
Apparently the average Ohio voter didn’t like the idea of dissolving labor unions. What started off as an attempt to balance responsibility for benefits a little better ended up being an attempt by Kasich and his political cronies to union bust. The good people of Ohio were having none of that yesterday.
Much of the dispute centers around labor union rights for public employees.
While much of the public attention has centered on the law’s ban on collective bargaining for public employees, the law also contained provisions to require public employees to contribute to their health care and pension benefits, along with pushing merit pay for teachers — proposals that polled well in the run-up to the election.
Merit pay for teachers has gone down in an abysmal blaze of glory for those jurisdictions who tried it over the last half century. Merit pay seems to only work with quantitatively measurable outcomes. Too much of teaching is art unless one wants to tie outcome totally to time in the building and test scores. Bottom line, it really doesn’t work. You can’t teach pigs to sing either.
Can public employees be asked to contribute more towards their own benefits? How can this work with a strong union? I sure don’t have the answer. There has to be balance. Unions can’t be allowed to absorb all the resources of a jurisdiction and states cannot crush unions. Publlic employees must be treated well and be reimbursed well or there will not be public employees. The fewer public employees available, the more the public will have to pay to have them.