A day after hundreds of public employees jammed the Statehouse to protest a bill they believe will kill their unions, Gov. John Kasich said he is working on an even-tougher version, one that would punish workers who go on strike.
If the Republican-controlled legislature doesn't fashion a collective-bargaining reform bill to his liking, Kasich said yesterday, then he will include language in the coming state budget to enact the changes he wants... "We would outlaw strikes, and the penalties would either be firing or docked wages," the governor said.
Asked what recourse public union workers would have under his proposal, Kasich said, "They have a job. They should continue to negotiate and try to come up with something."
Kasich's statements underscored the resolve of Republicans, who enjoy hefty majorities in the House and Senate, to roll back the power of public-employee unions. On Wednesday, a Senate committee opened hearings on a measure sponsored by Sen. Shannon Jones, R-Springboro, to eliminate collective bargaining for all state workers and significantly weaken it at the local level.
... [The proposal] would prohibit all public employees, not just police and firefighters, from going on strike. Along with possible termination, workers could be fined two days' pay for every day they strike, and their unions could lose the right to deduct dues from paychecks... Kasich restated his intent to eliminate binding arbitration, the use of outside arbitrators to break contract stalemates with public-safety forces...
You may remember Kasich from his days in Congress. When Democrats crow about "the Clinton surplus" they are really complimenting Kasich and his band of fiscal conservatives who kept shoving sensible spending bills into Clinton's hands to sign. Which he did. After the '94 mid-term debacle, Clinton wasn't willing to expend much political capital fighting Kasich's crew.
And Kasich's common sense approach to dealing with unions is precisely what is needed now. The nefarious anti-taxpayer alliance of big government Democrats and public sector union bosses has run its course, economically and ethically. The unions must be shattered once and for all.
There is no alternative if fiscal sanity is to be restored.