The Democrats and public employee unions finally won one yesterday, securing passage of a referendum that reversed Ohio governor John Kasich's attempted reforms of collective bargaining and union health care benefits. The unions literally poured tens of millions of dollars into the effort, including the usual battery of TV ads about firehouses that no longer respond to fire alarms. The margin of victory - or defeat, depending on how you look at it - wasn't even close.
Voters on Tuesday defeated by a wide margin a law that would have restricted the powers of unions representing teachers, police officers and other public-sector workers
The law would have stripped the state's 350,000 public employees of most of their collective-bargaining rights and forced workers to pay at least 15% of their health-care costs. With 97% of precincts reporting, 61% of voters in a referendum voted against the Republican-backed law, known as Senate Bill 5, while 39% supported it
The vote was closely watched beyond Ohio as other states have debated whether to rein in public unions to help governments cut spending on wages and benefits. Unions have faced bruising battles with newly elected Republican majorities in various states this year. In Wisconsin, lawmakers passed a law restricting union rights, but they failed to do so in Indiana.Republicans can't win every time, but this was really an unnecessary loss. For one thing, Ohioans voted at the same time to support a bill that waived Obamacare's individual mandate, suggesting that this was no Blue Tide. For another, the GOTV simply wasn't there on our side. While union goons were being bused around the state, and millions of dollars worth of ads were filling the airwaves, all the reformers had was John Kasich campaigning in the week leading up to the vote. That is not nearly enough.
If you are trying to take away someone's rice bowl, you have to be prepared for when he comes back to try to fill it up again. Republicans never seem to grasp this.