Ohio voters reject Republican-backed union limits


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s new law limiting the collective bargaining abilities of 350,000 unionized public workers has been defeated after an expensive union-backed campaign that pitted firefighters, police officers and teachers against the state’s Republican establishment.

The law hadn’t taken effect yet. It was thrown out Tuesday amid high turnout in a year without a presidential election. Current union rules will stand until the GOP-controlled Legislature plots its next move.

Republican Gov. John Kasich traveled the state to promote retaining the law, which set new minimum contributions for public employee health care and retirement and banned strikes, among other provisions.

Supporters promoted the law as a means for local governments to save money and keep workers. Opponents said the union limits threatened public safety with little proof of cost savings.

“Working families in Ohio went to the polls and voted to support Ohio’s public employees and their right to collectively bargain today,” Phil Neuenfeldt, President Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, said in a statement Tuesday night.  “Unlike Ohio, Wisconsin workers do not have the opportunity to put a referendum on the ballot.  Thankfully we have the right to recall.  Today’s win in Ohio has energized and excited Wisconsin workers to recall Gov. Walker and put a stop to his attack on working families.”