Ohio to vote on anti-union law

Union supporters make their way into the Ohio Capital building as Gov. John Kasich begins his State of the State address on March 8, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio.

Jeremy Hobson: Well first it was Wisconsin. And now Ohio is looking to curb collective bargaining rights for unionized public workers. Ohio lawmakers are expected to vote on a bill today.

Bill Cohen reports from Columbus.

Bill Cohen: Union activists call the Ohio collective bargaining bill worse than Wisconsin's because the Ohio plan impacts twice as many workers. Plus, it weakens bargaining power even for police and firefighters, and it says public employees no longer have to pay the equivalent of union dues.

Republican Governor John Kasich loves the bill. He says it would help government cut costs and avoid tax hikes, so Ohio could attract new companies and jobs.

John Kasich: If a company can't manage its costs, it usually goes bankrupt. But if a company can manage its costs, and if the state can manage its costs, and if local government can manage its costs, we're going to be on the right footing.

Democrats and unions, though, see this as a Republican plan to wipe out their power base. Thousands of police, teachers and prison guards have been protesting.

Republicans have the votes to push the bill through, but critics have a plan B -- a petition drive that would put the law onto the ballot, so voters could kill it.

In Columbus, I'm Bill Cohen for Marketplace.

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This informAtion may not be correct. Quoting Jim Buchy, a Republican representative in Ohio. "Soon, there will be changes offered-up to SB 5 in the House and I look forward to examining those changes. Currently, SB 5 will allow for public employees to collectively bargain for wages, hours, terms and conditions. It will remove step pay increases for all public employees and replace those pay increases by a locally determined merit system, except for teachers who will be paid based on a locally determined performance system. Public employees will continue to have leave time and will be asked to pay a percentage of their healthcare costs. "

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