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Ohio collective bargaining law to go before voters in November

Ohio voters will decide whether to repeal a law [SB 5 text, PDF] limiting the collective bargaining rights of state workers after opponents of the bill gathered 915,456 signatures [press release] Thursday, almost 700,000 more than the required 231,147 signatures. The bill was passed [JURIST report] in March, but will not go into effect until it survives the public referendum in November. The law includes [summary] provisions prohibiting public employees from striking and disallowing public unions to collectively bargain for any reason other than wages or equipment for personal safety. Opponents of the bill argue [Columbus Dispatch report] that it is union busting masquerading as cost control and is an attach on the middle class. Proponents of the bill, including Building a Better Ohio [advocacy website], argue that public unions have grown too powerful and substantial cuts in union power are necessary for budget control.

Anti-union and anti-collective bargaining laws have been a major issue of controversy in the US this year. In March, the New Hampshire House of Representatives [official website] passed an amendment to their current budget that would require public employees to make concessions automatically [AP report] or become at-will employees. Earlier that month Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker [official website] signed a bill [JURIST report] limiting the rights of state workers to collectively bargain. Although the law was enjoined by judicial order, it has since been upheld [JURIST reports] by the Wisconsin Supreme Court [official website].

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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