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LABOR NEWS UPDATE: AFSCME President McEntee Says Ohio Bill “A Reprehensible Attack on the Middle Class” As Senate & House Passes Anti-Worker Legislation Gutting Collective Bargaining

Published Thursday, March 31, 2011 11:00 am
by National Labor News Services

From The National AFL-CIO News Now Blog Site: Republicans in the Ohio Senate last night (March 30th) passed by a vote of 17-to-16 S.B 5 - legislation that eliminates the rights of 350,000 Public Employees to bargain for Middle-Class Jobs.  Earlier in the evening, the Republican-controlled House passed the bill.  Republican Governor John Kasich strongly backs the attack on workers and will sign the legislation.  More than 1,000 Teachers, Firefighters and other Public Service Workers were at the state Capitol most of the day and chanted “Kill The Bill” during debate and “Shame, Shame” as Republicans voted to pass Walker’s attack on workers.  While anti-worker lawmakers continue to push their assault on workers and Workers’ Rights, Kasich - like governors in Wisconsin and Michigan - has seen his support plummet among the public for his attacks on Middle-Class Jobs.


Ohio Legislature Approves Bill To Curb Collective Bargaining Rights

By Shane D'Aprile/The Hill (

State lawmakers in Ohio approved a measure Wednesday limiting the Collective Bargaining Rights of Public Employees. 

The bill, which bans Ohio's Public-Sector Unions from striking, is expected to be quickly signed into law by Gov. John Kasich (R). 

The timing of the bill's passage means that Labor Organizers will have to prepare a referendum on it for November of this year, precluding it from being on the ballot in 2012, which will likely be a more favorable year for Democrats.   

Some Labor Groups in the state have privately admitted they'd rather vote on a referendum in November of 2012 to take advantage of a more Democratic-leaning electorate and potentially even aid the re-election prospects of President Obama.  But Republicans in Ohio's State Legislature moved the bill through quickly, eliminating that possibility. 

From the Columbus Dispatch: Both the House and Senate worked through an almost unheard-of amount of applause, boos and shouts of "shame on you" from Pro-Union Crowds that packed the chambers and made sure lawmakers understood the magnitude of their votes.

The House concluded four hours of passionate debate with a 53-44 vote to approve Senate Bill 5. The Senate later agreed to House changes by the same 17-16 vote it used to initially pass the bill earlier this month.  The sweeping overhaul of Ohio's 27-year-old Collective-Bargaining Law now goes to Governor John Kasich, who could sign it as soon as Friday.

"Local governments and taxpayers need control over their budgets," said House Speaker William G. Batchelder, R-Medina. "This bill will give control back to the people who pay the bill."

Rep. Dennis Murray (D-Sandusky) called the bill "Union Busting masquerading as cost control."

Democrats and Union Leaders have vowed to collect the more-than 230,000 signatures needed to go to the ballot in November and ask voters to strike down the law.  Some have estimated each side could spend $10 million to $20 million on the campaign.  If the adequate number of signatures is collected within 90 days of Kasich signing the bill, it would not take effect until Ohioans vote on it.

The timetable for the referendum was dependent on when the State Legislature passed the measure and Kasich signed it into law.  As long as the bill is signed into law and filed by April 8th, which is now guaranteed, the only choice for Labor Organizers is a referendum in November 2011.


AFSCME President McEntee: Ohio Bill “A Reprehensible Attack on the Middle Class”

The following is a statement from American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) President Gerald McEntee regarding passage of Ohio SB 5 Legislation to silence the voice of Public Service Workers and limit their right to Collective Bargaining:

“This bill is a reprehensible attack on the Middle Class and the rights of Ohio’s Workers. It undermines our basic American values by attacking the right of Ohio Workers to have a voice on the job.  Throughout this debate, Governor Kasich made it clear that he was not interested in finding solutions to problems.  Instead, he has divided Ohio as he rewards the corporate CEOs and Wall Street money men who financed his political campaign.  It is clear that he is working for them, not for the Working Men and Women of Ohio.  More than 65,000 Ohioans signed petitions opposing SB 5.  They were delivered to the House committee, but the embarrassed leadership had them removed before passing this political measure that hurts Middle Class Ohio Families.  John Kasich and his cronies want a future where public services are starved, Collective Bargaining is a thing of the past, and powerful corporate interests keep their tax loopholes at the expense of everyone else.  Well, Ohio families have had enough of politicians who do nothing to protect or create jobs, while working overtime to eliminate the ability of workers to help solve problems and come up with solutions that work.  This bill eliminates the ability of workers to negotiate on issues such as Health Care, outsourcing and even staffing levels on nursing shifts, firefighting crews and in squad cars.  That is just not right.  Ohio’s Working Men and Women will fight to restore the basic values that have guided Buckeye communities for generations.  We will stand with them as they pursue a Citizen’s Veto.  We will go to the ballot and defeat these proposals there.” 

AFSCME’s 1.6 million members provide the vital services that make America happen.  With members in hundreds of different occupations – from Nurses to Corrections Officers, Child Care Providers to Sanitation Workers – AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and prosperity and opportunity for all Working Families.


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