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].