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Ohio Workers Fight to Stop Bill They Say Limits Collective Bargaining Rights


Ohio workers are out in droves in a challenge to a bill they say limits their collective bargaining rights.

Protesters are looking for a referendum on Senate Bill 5, a modification of collective bargaining law in Ohio. The Plain Dealer reports the law would lessen the collective bargaining power of almost 400,000 public workers in Ohio and would increase health care expenses for some workers. Another expected consequence according to The Plain Dealer: the law would emphasize job performance over seniority.

They've collected more than 915,450 signatures to get a controversial bill back under consideration. That's at least 684,000 more valid signatures that they needed to challenge the legislation. The state elections chief recognized their efforts Thursday and announced the fate of the law will be up to Ohio voters on November 8.

While some are upset, others look to recent poll results and find many actually like key points of the legislation. 60 percent of responses favored the condition requiring state employees to pay at least 15 percent of their health insurance premiums; 58 percent support the condition requiring public workers to pay at least 10 percent of their wages for their pensions. Overall, the poll reports that 56 percent oppose placing limits to collective bargaining on public employees, while 32 percent approve of the restrictions.

Despite poll results, the measures are necessary to tighten spending in a tough economic time according to elected officials, like Republican Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Shannon Jones, who introduced SB5.

"We have to make some tough decisions about how to provide public services while respecting the ability of taxpayers to fund them," Sen. Jones said in a statement released by the pro-SB 5 group, Building a Better Ohio.

The group also published this video of Republican presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich, endorsing the bill last week.

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Gov. Kasich signed the bill in March, but it will not take efficacy unless voters approve it in November.

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