Eye on Education

Ohio Issue 2 Results: Voters Repeal Controversial Collective Bargaining Law

Ida Lieszkovszky / StateImpact Ohio

Cleveland Teachers Union President David Quolke address a Cleveland SB-5 repeal watch party.

Senate Bill 5, a law limiting collective bargaining for Ohio’s public sector employees, will be repealed.

Votes on Issue 2, as the referendum on the law was known, were 61 percent in favor of repealing the law.

The Associated Press called the race – saying efforts to repeal SB 5 were successful – at 9:16 p.m.

The results echoed polls showing most Ohio voters supported repealing SB 5.

At the repeal campaign’s Cleveland watch party, a rowdy crowd listened to speeches and celebrated their victory.

In one speech, Cleveland police union president Stephen Loomis thanked Ohio Gov. John Kasich for bringing Ohio’s public sector unions together. Loomis, surrounded by a group of teachers, pledged that Ohio’s public safety unions would not abandon teachers’ unions.

In only six counties a majority of voters approved Issue 2, meaning they supported enacting Senate Bill 5. All were counties where Kasich won more than 60 percent of the vote in the 2010 gubernatorial election.

At a Columbus press conference, Kasich said voters might have thought SB 5 was was “too much too soon.”

“There’s a lesson here, which is, the voters said these are not the tools we want to help our communities go forward,” he said.

What could these results mean?

They could mean that Democratic-leaning groups like, say, unions, can get organized and get out the vote, both important skills leading up to the 2012 presidential election, particularly in a swing state like Ohio. That energy and organization could also help Democrats get two other referendums on the November 2012 ballot and approved. But then again, that election is a year away.

They could mean that the momentum behind Republican efforts to curb the power of public employee unions and enact education policy changes such as ending tenure and seniority-based pay has slowed.

They could mean that Kasich’s approach of including both public safety workers and teachers in a single collective bargaining bill was flawed. (In Wisconsin, collective bargaining changes that largely excluded police and firefighters passed.)

And they could mean that despite falling union membership, plenty of voters are still sympathetic to labor.

What happens now?

Kasich said Tuesday night it was too early to say whether he would try again to enact some of the changes of SB 5:

“It’s time to pause. The people have spoken clearly. You don’t ignore the public.”

But GOP state leaders have said before that parts of SB 5 could rise again, though likely not until 2012.

Standing side-by-side with Kasich, Senate President Tom Neihaus said he looks forward to “working with local government to help them face the challenges they’re going to face:”

“At the end of the day, we have to work together to provide tools to local governments to manage the limited resources they have.”


  • Amazed

    Long term this vote will go down as one of the biggest uneducated mistakes Ohio voters have ever made. For those of you who work in the private sector, congradulations you just supported big government. For those in the public sector congradulations, you just showed what union money can do to protect it’s own interests…sad.

    • Not Rush Dimwit

      What you are actually saying is that the top 5% cronies that are pushing hard to take us back to the Middle Ages economic system of royalty and the peasants they control with all that money and power isn’t moving along quite as well as you and your immoral and unethical kind would like. You believe the masses to be uneducated rugs for the rich and wealthy to step on and use as their personal doormat. I guess you won’t be using child labor in your coal mines any time soon. What a shame.

      While unions can become corrupt like any organization, they are the only real line between management stepping all over the workers, providing poor working conditions and tossing them for a replacement when they get hurt. The rich don’t give a flying crap about such things. To them, workers are like ants and they figure there’s more where they came from so get the magnifying glass out….

      • DouglasSpear

        So who steps in for the taxpayers? Last I checked I pay 30% of my benefits + the taxes for public workers…when do taxpayers get a say in their own money? Redistribution of wealth sickens me and I hope public workers lose their jobs over this because everyone wants a tax friendly and job friendly state, but obviously many Ohioans don’t want to make the sacrifices needed to get there.

    • Petergrifter

      Congratulations. That’s how you spell it. Looks like your the uneducated mistake.

      • Left OH for TX

        Peter, I believe that you meant to say “You’re” as opposed to “Your”…so what does that make you, Einstein?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NWOO4WHHRSH3CBCKHJANGJJ3U4 Bill the Cat

      My Mother is union, courthouse clerk, and makes less than $11 an hour after almost 25 years. Instead of pay raises, they’ve fought to keep their benefits. 15% of her medical premium would have been half her paycheck. Contrary to a minority opinion, every union employee isn’t making a huge bloated salary, and Issue 2 penalized those employees disproportionately. I’ll also note that they initially unionized in self-defence because each election cycle half the workers would get fired so the new office holders could pack in their own friends, family, and political cronies.
      Issue 2 was poorly written, poorly thought out, and was a blatant attempt to stamp out unions, not just put the brakes on them. Come up with something equitable for both the workers and the state, and you’ll see a lot more support. Obviously, smacking everyone with a sledgehammer didn’t cut it.

      • Rocketscientist951

        Oh, silly Billy. The unions have preyed so long and hard on your mom (and, apparently, you) that you fail to see the forest because of all the trees. Your mom makes $11/hr because that’s what a frickin clerk should make. Your mom has passed up thousands of other possibilities during her tenure as a clerk… and almost any such opportunity could have led to a pay raise or – gasp – a promotion if she’d worked in the private sector. People just keep right on bitching about how little they make as clerks and desk jockeys but fail to see that employers pay for THE POSITION, NOT THE PERSON. Your dear mother may well be worth thousands more…but her job isn’t. Her job is a public service…a small one, at that. Union members keep talking about collective bargaining rights and how wonderful they are…and out the other side of their mouths scream about those jobs being outsourced when they drive the employer into financial ruin. Your mom has chosen that side, and now she and her union are the opposition. Nothing about that job deserves benefits, let alone PAID benefits. Yet the people who provide an actual service to society will now cover her for the rest of her days. God bless the unions.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NWOO4WHHRSH3CBCKHJANGJJ3U4 Bill the Cat

          So, Mr. Rocket Scientist…you think a job that requires an accounting degree should pay less than $11 an hour and not have benefits? You really want someone being paid less than minimum wage and no benefits, with no training/skills to be one of two over-worked and underpaid people who handle all bills, tax, property records and receipts? For an entire county? Responsible for processing and recording all payments and handling multiple millions in cash money per day? You really think that’s a good idea?
          Tell me she performs a “small public service” when your house goes up for sale on the courthouse steps for non-payment of taxes. What? You paid? Sorry, no record! I guess your minimum wage/no benefits “mere fricking clerk” from Bangladesh either didn’t bother recording the transaction and pocketed the money, or just plain screwed up the books. And guess whose records the courts believe? Hint…it ain’t yours.
          You seem to be under the impression that all those “mere clerks” and other lowly “public service” employees out there are enrolled in some kind of welfare program and don’t deserve a living wage or any benefits. Some of them really are badly overpaid…unfortunately, most aren’t. All Issue 2 did was punish the ones on the bottom end of the pay scale, not the real offenders. Someone making big bucks, 15% of their insurance premium is a fleabite, for my “Dear Mother” it would have been devastating…and good luck with a replacement willing to work a crap job paying a pittance, with no benefits.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5XVPE3YTJEWFFJVTCWSBJXTCK4 WI Native

            Bill there is your mother making $11/hour as a union employee, then there’s all the other over paid union labor & leadership. Your sob story about your mother is sweet, but it doesn’t prove anything other than you love your mom. The real world doesn’t care that she settled for her crappy job. It’s not the responsibility of the taxpayers of Ohio to make this right for her.

    • Steve

      “biggest uneducated mistakes Ohio voters have ever made” Are you one of them?

  • American

    A great victory for the people of Ohio and for the country.

    • Danielkitinoja

      For now perhaps, at least until Ohio goes bankrupt trying to keep paying corrupt union fat cats. By the way, is it possible that the strength of public sector unions in Ohio is keeping private sector companies from moving in and opening up new job creating factories? Just a thought.

  • Watson292

    I could not have said it any better. Ohio had a chance to fix its budget long term. That hope is now fading with this vote.

  • Arthousemuse

    Look more closely at the world and you will see that countries with strong unions have strong economies. Look at Poland, look at Germany, they have traditions of respect for the unions and so thier products are good quality and thier workers make the money needed to keep thier economy moving. Basic math, the middle class buys the goods the county produces. Unless the greedy business owners send production to low cost workers in other countries, then it all falls apart. No tax base, no money in the middle class to buy quality goods. We have rusted out cities and land fills full of broken junk products…

    • Anonymous

      And you have only your politicians both democrap and republiturd to thank.

      If they would have shut the barn door on outsourcing our factories and allowing China unmitigated access to our markets (Thanks Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton) we wouldn’t be in this pickle.

      Unions have nothing to do with it.

    • Left OH for TX

      Yeah, that Greek economy seems to be humming along Arthouse….you will soon realize that Ohio’s economy is going to collapse onto itself from it’s own weight…

  • Anonymous

    Enjoy paying for those cushy pensions Ohio taxpayers. Your public unions now get to determine how deep they dig into your pockets.

  • MalteseCross

    Let me guess “Amazed”, you don’t work in the public sector? Maybe the next time your company attacks your pension they can buy you a spell checker for your computer with the money they save. Or is that what teachers are for? Maybe I am uneducated, but I am glad that the direct attack on union collective bargaining rights nationwide is being recognized by the common citizen. Thank you Ohio for protecting the interests of hard working employees who devote their lives to teaching or protecting both the private and public sector without prejudice. Congratulations!

    • Rocketscientist951

      You’re a tool. Why the hell do we have a Department of Labor? OSHA? Labor laws? You think the unions ensure that you can’t put a 6-year old to work in a mine? You think you have a safe work environment because of the SEIU? You’ve bought it – hook, line and sinker.

  • Winning is Good

    The Republicans are still in charge, but this is a good first victory.

  • Former Ohio Resident

    Ohio will join California as a state where people and jobs leave. Wisconsin will join Texas as a place where people and companies relocate to. Ohio voters who supported the recall don’t know it yet but despite the polls they have already lost.

  • Bigbob0806

    What really happened here, is a bill that was rushed through the state congress at a speed which no one could make any changes to it failed. The bill was too broad and made people choose between security or money.

    East Cleveland just laid off 36 cops and 10 fire fighters, in addition to making an ER trip take an extra 16 minutes. These are the people that need to keep their funding. On the other hand, poor teachers will now be able to keep getting away with sucking at their job. If the bill would of been more similar to Wisconsin’s, it probably would of not been repealed.

    • Mdelgado13

      It’s amazing to me that so many people are fine with it as long as it targets teachers…but no one else. When did teachers become the villains that wrecked the economy? How on earth will targeting teachers fix the economy.

  • RealitySteamtrain

    Wait til the levies get floated to fund keeping the status quo in govt. They’ll all be shot down. People don’t have money. This was an empty sympathy vote. Public employees are going to lose jobs. Not the union bosses mind you…
    Now had you all taken pay cuts and benefits reductions, like those of us in the private sector who pay your salaries have been living with for the past 4 years, maybe more of you would keep your jobs. But nope.
    I look forward to the next budget cycle and the panic wave of Levies that will be put up for vote… that will all go down in flames.

    People. Are. Out. Of. Money. To. Pay. You.

    Get ready for a does of hard reality.

    • Kay Bright

      I repeat! IF the budget is in such bad shape, they need to give back their raises and turn down their future raises and do with the healthcare benefits that they expect everyone else to live with!

    • Mdelgado13

      We. Cannot. Educate. Children. Effectively. With. 34. In. A . Classroom.
      Give me the paycut…no problem. Don’t take away my right to fight for my kids and what they need. One of the few things SB 5 allowed unions to still collectively bargain on was salary. If it was about public employees getting paid too much, why was that one of the things that was left to the unions? I truly don’t get it.

      • cindy

        I don’t see teachers,firefighters, or any of the other public employees living in mansions and having 6 cars in the drive. They are hard working people helping other people. What in the heck is your idea of too much pay? America has brainwashed the middle class into being jealous of one another. If we can always be against one another in the LOWER AND MIDDLE then no one is looking up at the jacklegs that really make all the money! Wake up we all should be able to make a living wage, this is America.

    • justsayin123

      If Issue 2 was only about “Public Employees just paying their fair share,” like Kasich said, why does the bill have to be 323 pages long? Go out and ask your public employees how much they pay into their pensions and health care because I already pay what he’s asking us to pay. If that was the only request, it would have passed 99% to 1%. People have to start reading the other 322 pages of the bill. Stop blindly following political leaders with an “R” or a “D” after their name. Start thinking for yourself.

    • Sukiyaki

      Hey moron do some research and talk to some state employees. I have been a state employee for over 11 years. We have not had a raise in the past 3 contracts which equals 9 years! And health care costs have gone up every contract! So we aint the reason ohio is broke. It started decades ago when all jobs left america to slave labor lands!

    • bcc

      Issue 2 was supposedly about having public employees pay 10% of pension and 15% of health care. 95 % of us already do. That’s why Kasich had to change his attack to being about jobs and kids. It was a shitty issue. People are willing to give concessions, he is just a bully and went way too far.

  • Kay Bright

    Why is it always the ones who really needed to pay attention in school to learn something who are always calling someone else stupid? Congratulations to those of us who had the sense to see through the devious smokescreen of the right! If he had money to give out DOUBLE DIGIT RAISES, TO HIS STAFF, THEN HE HAS MONEY TO BALANCE THE BUDGIT. IF THE BUDGET IS IN THAT BAD A SHAPE, THEN THEY NEED TO GIVE BACK THEIR RAISES AND KASICH NEEDS TO TURN HIS UPCOMING RAISE DOWN!!!!!!! YOU LEAD BY EXAMPLE! LET’S SEE SOME SHARED SACRIFICE!!!!!!!

  • Steve

    Maltese Cross- clearly you do not run a business. If you – or all of the unionized workers sucking from the public teat of Ohio were responsible for a business bottom line – maintaining SB5 would have been a no-brainer!
    Too bad that Ohioans were too stupid to not look at the good that has already come from Wisconsin’s move to control costs. Their school teachers were the very first folks to benefit with LOWER insurance costs!
    Notice that Federal workers do not have the right to control the hand that feeds them. There is a very good reason for that! Wisconsin realized it- but not Ohio! Ohio deserves what it gets after being this stupid! We are well on our way to becoming Michigan.

    OK – so now Union workers that you took away MY ability to control Ohio’s costs – what do YOU propose to fix Ohio’s bottom line? You see, it comes back to “owning” the responsibility to make the business work —- and clearly, the Union workers were DUPED into believing that their small “sacrifice” was not necessary to FIXING THE OHIO ECONOMY! SO let’s hear it! What’s your plan? More taxes?

    • bc

      Start with making cuts across the board, which includes the politicians. They want to make changes, but never include themselves. No secret why the top 1% get richer and everyone else continues to struggle. Public employees pay 10 and 15 percent if not more. I pay 10 to pension and 17.5 to HC as a teacher. This issue was not about balancing the budget. It was solely about reducing democratic power.

    • MalteseCross

      Steve, you are absolutely correct I do not own a business. In fact, I am not even a citizen in your country. I am not saying that unions are the answer everywhere, but some employers would make a mile out of every inch they could get. Would you let an employer ignore government mandated safety requirements to save less than $1000 that would rectify the situation for all employees? Would you stand up alone against the management team and speak out when they repeatedly threaten your job if you raise an issue? Unions are organized for many different reasons but this is my personal story. I believe that people who risk their own lives to save yours deserve more than $10 per hour… especially when the going rate for a babysitter is commonly more than that where I live. There are bad unions, but there are also bad employers. The decision in Ohio has far reaching effects worldwide that has sent a message to politicians they they can not rule with an iron fist and blanket every union member by taking their bargaining rights away. I recognize that a business has to be run efficiently, and cost is a major concern, but there are many ways to resolve situations without attacking the rights of the working class. All I am asking for is the right to be able to collectively bargain an agreement with my employer… (emphasis on collectively) and if Ohio had been successful, it would have set precedence for many other states to do the same. In my country, If we can not settle on an agreement a third party rules through binding arbitration what is fair for both sides. I do not have the right to strike nor do I believe that my profession should ever consider it for reasons of public safety. I protect the people of my municipality, people like you, and I would never change what I do. Again, I am not a business owner and I am not educated. I am a Local Union Executive of a Union that protects my life when I am saving yours. Thank you again Ohio, for sending a clear message to the politicians in my country, that they will never take away our right to collectively bargain an AGREEMENT without extreme opposition from working class citizens that may equate to a subsequent election loss for them in the future.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YOQJV2QXW7GGSD4V6ZPNUMQ7OM Moving to AZ…legally

    Too bad, Ohio. Sorry to hear it. You almost had the tiger by the tail and could slow it down, but you blew it.

    You have me worried now for the future of our country, if you can get snookered by the government unions, the rest of the nation is in big trouble in 2012. They will do all they can to keep milking the cow ( the USA) to death.

  • CaptBanana

    Big Government = Bad idea.
    Unions = Organized mobs/gangs
    Teachers make too much and do too little when it comes to teaching… We should drop the worse performing teachers and higher people who actually do good.
    Do you need more fat cops? We should fire those who can’t keep up with the rest.. Rather than adding more fat cops and giving them benefits.
    Unions once started off as a nice group of people trying to keep safe from cruel conditions. Now they have become a tool used to bully others.. Allowing the union members to fatten their pockets.

  • Mark Solomon

    Federal, state, and local spending accounts for 40 percent of our national GDP. Wow, that’s simply unsustainable regardless of your point of view on issue 2. We scrutinize charities when they get close to the 10 percent mark of their funding, but we rally big government. Have we reached the point where we’re voting for government simply because we “are” the government?

  • Rlguad

    Congratulations Ohio — you told your governor exactly how you feel!

  • Circlingthedrain

    Enjoy the layoffs. At least my taxes will pay for your entitlement unemployment instead of your health care benefits that no one else gets. Kudos. Keep the hands stretched out for more. Im glad the unions and its members are the only ones that don’t have to sacrifice. If you don’t like your pay? Guess what.. look for a new job. Don’t make me pay for your complacancy.

  • smct1

    So Ohio voters have basically said money can be taken out of their own pockets, paychecks and pensions and put into the pockets, paychecks and pensions of the Unions. What are these people – stupid???

    • Anonymous

      yes.. yes they are.

  • Joseph A. Sheridan

    As an Ohio native, I was sorely disappointed with the election of Kasich. For me, his aggressive effort to impeach President Bill Clinton over an issue which was strictly a “family matter” I found repulsive. When he and several of his newly elected GOP governors set out to dilute the influence unions had within the Democratic Party and more important, the impressive campaign contributions by them to the Party.

    The repeas of Issue #2 in Ohio gave politics in that state back to the people and put an end to the GOP persistent devotion to the wealthiest of our number at the expense of the middle class. Teachers, firefighters, policemen and other public servants issued a warning to Kasich, the Koch brothers who poured millions of dollars into the state to kill this effort to repeal.

    More importantly, to those same millionaires and billionaires, the issued a warning–DO NOT MESS WITH US!

  • topdogger

    I already pay 15% Healthcare AND 10% of my salary as a member of STRS in OHIO, which I believe all government workers should do – yes, I agree with the governor on that issue! But I voted no, because I’m sick and tired of having no rights on many other issues, some related and some not. Upper management of any organization can’t be exempt to everyday issues and somehow has to get reconnected in the minds of average citizens.

  • psgmichigan

    Good job, Ohio It is time for the middle class to stamd up and send a message to the republians that everyday workers are just as important as the top income earners that you constantly vote for.

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