Public Worker Protests Spread To Ohio

ohio protests

Photo: AP

All eyes are on Wisconsin as a battle unfolds between public employee unions and Republican lawmakers looking to limit their collective bargaining rights. But as overburdened state governments look to close deficits and cut costs, other states are in the middle of the same debate.In Ohio, a fight has been playing out more quietly over a bill that would end collective bargaining for all state workers and limit it for other public employees. The legislation would also eliminate salary schedules in favour of merit pay, a measure that has been heavily criticised by the state’s public safety workers’ unions. Unlike Wisconsin’s bill, the Ohio legislation includes firefighters and police officers unions.

About 3,800 firefighters, police officers, teachers and other public employees rallied outside the state Capitol during three days of state Senate hearings on the bill this week. Yesterday, about 200 Tea Party activists turned out to support of the legislation, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

“This bill is about maths. Government has grown bigger than our taxpayers’ ability to support it.” Mike Wilson, head of the Cincinnati Tea Party, told the crowd, which verbally sparred with union supporters.

Ohio legislators are expected to vote on the bill in the next few weeks.

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