Members of the Ohio Senate passed legislation Wednesday that would effectively strip collective bargaining rights from public workers.
Senate Bill 5 narrowly passed by a 17 to 16 vote. The bill will now move to Ohio’s House of Representatives which has a Republican majority. However, public workers said they are not done fighting and will continue to protest when the bill is read on the House floor.
The bill affects 175,000 unionized workers in the state including fire fighters.
Fire fighters said the new law will compromise safety. Management now will decide whether the quality of equipment can be bargained.
Ohio positioned itself as the next battleground state over workers fighting to protect collective bargaining. The issue thrust the state in the national spotlight. The Huffington Post lead photo for Thursday morning was of members of Local 4049 of Mason, Ohio watching the vote on television.
The bill changes contract terms for public employees. Health care benefits and pensions will no longer be negotiated. Also, the bill bans public workers from striking and new parameters will be established for labor disputes. Instead of binding arbitration, the employer’s legislative body will now decide whether to side with a union or management.
Gov. John Kasich said the bill gets Ohio back on track.
How can Ohio be on the right track by muzzling public workers and taking money away from families?