On November 8, Ohioans will vote to approve or reject Senate Bill 5, Gov. John Kasich’s public-sector-union reform. The law, enacted earlier this year but put to a referendum thanks to the efforts of organized labor, is vital to the fiscal health of the state’s municipal governments, and it should remain on the books. Turnout will be major factor, so fiscally conservative Ohio voters owe it to their cause to head to the polls on Election Day.
Senate Bill 5 is broadly similar to the collective-bargaining reforms enacted by Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin. While the law allows collective bargaining on many issues — exceptions include health insurance, pensions, and staffing levels — local governments can impose a contract unilaterally if negotiations falter. Unions can no longer charge “fair share” fees to workers who choose not to join. Also, government workers are required to pay 15 percent of their health-care costs and contribute 10 percent of their salaries toward their pensions.
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