Gov. John Kasich's S.B. 5 and Republican lawmakers must be feeling the heat. Recently, 1.3 million Ohioans signed petitions to put on the November ballot the repeal of a law (S.B. 5) that eliminates the collective bargaining rights of more than 350,000 public employees. Today, Kasich & Co. pleaded for a so-called "compromise" in order to keep the repeal measure of the ballot out of the voters' hands.
At a press conference this afternoon, Melissa Fazekas, spokeswoman for We Are Ohio, the coalition leading the repeal drive, said:
We're glad that Gov. Kasich and the other politicians who passed S.B. 5 are finally admitting this is a flawed bill. Just like the bill was flawed, this approach to a compromise is flawed as well.
Our message is clear. These same politicians who passed this law could repeal it and not thwart the will of the people. They should either repeal the entire bill or support our efforts and encourage a no vote on Issue 2 [the repeal].
Kasich and Republican lawmakers rammed S.B. 5 through the legislature in March, ignoring the huge and near daily demonstrations and rallies in and around the Capitol. Kasich and his backers refused earlier offers to meet with workers and discuss the issue.
After the bill passed and Kasich signed it, We Are Ohio mounted a massive drive to collect enough signatures to put the repeal before the voters in November. Only 231,000 signatures were needed to put repeal on the November ballot. But the 10,000 We Are Ohio volunteers from all over the Buckeye State found overwhelming support for repeal and collected more than five times the number required.
The Associated Press reports that a recent Quinnipiac University poll found 56 percent of Ohio voters say the new collective bargaining law should be repealed, compared with 32 percent who favor keeping it in place.
AFL-CIO Now Blog, Wed Aug 17 2011
Byline: Mike Hall