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Ohio’s Vote On Public Sector Unions

With Anthony Brooks in for Tom Ashbrook

Ohio votes on a controversial law curtailing union rights for public sector workers. We’ll look at the outcome and at national implications.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks about Issue 2 and election results at a news conference Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011, in Columbus, Ohio. In a political blow to Kasich, voters handily rejected the state's new law, which would have limited the bargaining abilities of 350,000 unionized public workers. (AP)

Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks about Issue 2 and election results at a news conference Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011, in Columbus, Ohio. In a political blow to Kasich, voters handily rejected the state's new law, which would have limited the bargaining abilities of 350,000 unionized public workers. (AP)

It’s said that “all politics is local.” But in Ohio, politics are national, and could influence the next presidential election. At issue, collective bargaining rights for the state’s public workers. Just last March Republican Governor John Kasich led the charge to roll back union rights.

But yesterday a pro-union backlash and lots of out-of-state money over-turned that law, galvanizing Democrats in a crucial presidential swing state.

This hour, On Point: Ohio, union rights and the first skirmish of the 2012 presidential race.

-Anthony Brooks

Guests

Bill Cohen, a reporter at the The Statehouse News Bureau, in Columbus Ohio.

Connie Schultz, a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist. Her recent column about the Ohio vote is here.

Kevin O’Brien, deputy editorial page editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. His recent column on the vote is here.

C-Segment: Fast And Furious Under Fire

Evan Perez, reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Rob Margetta, Editor, CQ Homeland Security.

Highlights

Yesterday, voters in Ohio voted to overturn their GOP governor’s signature law, one restricting the rights of state employees to unionize. It never went into effect, but did mobilize tremendous opposition from labor groups nationwide.

This was generally a classic liberal-conservative battle here, with some crossover appeal from Republican voters that helped overturn the measure,” said Bill Cohen, a reporter at the The Statehouse News Bureau.

The law would have restricted collective bargaining and force workers to contribute more money towards their healthcare costs, in addition to giving management the final say in labor-management disputes, Cohen said.

“It’s a mistake to cast this just as a union victory,” said Connie Schultz, a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist and the wife of Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. “There are an awful lot of people in this state who love and respect, or at least know, a firefighter, a teacher, a police officer, a nurse…so, it became very personal for entire families.”

“But what’s right and what’s politically saleable, may be two different things,” said Kevin O’Brien, deputy editorial page editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “The entire political fight here was on fought on the grounds of emotion and not fiscal sense.”

From The Reading List

Cleveland Plain Dealer “A poll monitor working for the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, assaulted a voter at a polling place in Cleveland at midday Tuesday, sending the voter to a hospital.”

Bloomberg “After efforts across the U.S. this year to rein in government-worker unions, Ohioans today will decide whether Governor John Kasich and Republican lawmakers went too far. “

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