SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

The Nation

March 30, 2011

Ohio House to vote on collective bargaining limits

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A bill that would limit collective bargaining rights for 350,000 Ohio public workers neared passage before the Republican-controlled House on Wednesday, one of its final hurdles before the measure goes to the governor of this labor-stronghold state.

The legislation is in some ways tougher than Wisconsin's, as it would extend union restrictions to police officers and firefighters. But its reception in Ohio has paled in intensity with the raucous fight in Wisconsin, where tens of thousands demonstrated against the bill.

On Wednesday, an estimated 700 people came to the Ohio Statehouse to hear the debate. Chants from demonstrators inside the statehouse could be heard in the chamber.

Among those who lined up to get into the House chamber was Dayton firefighter Jeff Jones, who said he came because he wanted to protect his pension and show his opposition for the bill.

"It would open the door for any government agency to basically do what they want to," said Jones, 43.

Contentious debates over restricting collective bargaining have popped up in statehouses across the country, most notably in Wisconsin, where the governor signed into law this month a bill eliminating most of state workers' collective bargaining rights.

Wisconsin's measure exempts police officers and firefighters.

The Ohio bill would apply to workers such as police officers, firefighters, teachers and state employees. They could negotiate wages and certain work conditions but not health care, sick time or pension benefits. The bill would do away with automatic pay raises and would base future wage increases on merit. Workers would also be banned from striking.

Debate in Ohio began with boos, shouts and laughter from protesters in the House chamber who oppose the legislation, prompting the House speaker to slam his gavel to bring order.

Onlookers in the gallery balked as state Rep. Joseph Uecker said the bill would help city officials save taxpayers money and help the middle class.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
The Nation

AP Video
US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Weather Gives Washington Firefighters Hope Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message $5M Bond Set for Teens in Homeless Killings New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Obama Calls for Immediate Access to Crash Site Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal
NDN Video
Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Rory McIlroy struggles, surges, wins British Open NOW TRENDING: Real life Pac-Man