In Ohio, an Era Nears Its End

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The Plain Dealer/Landov

Ohio's new Republican governor, John Kasich, is moving to tame his state's $8 billion budget deficit, and like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, he is targeting public employees. But Ohio Republicans are taking an even tougher line, backing a measure that would bar, for the first time since 1983, many state employees from striking and from collective bargaining for anything other than their salaries. The bill would also replace annual pay raises for certain employees with a merit-based system and remove seniority as a factor in job cuts. "We're going to reform government. It's going to happen," Kasich told Ohio legislators in his first State of the State address, on March 8. About 1,500 firefighters huddled in a capitol atrium, chanting "Kill the bill" so loudly that it was often hard to hear Kasich's speech. The bill, says the International Association of Fire Fighters' Harold Schaitberger, "moves us back decades, to when there were no true worker rights." The state senate has already approved the measure, and the house may toughen it further before it reaches Kasich's desk.