Foes of Ohio anti-union bill start repeal fight

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 15, 2011 5:33 PM
Foes of Ohio anti-union bill start repeal fight

By Jo Ingles

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters) - Foes of a controversial Ohio law which limits collective bargaining for public workers can proceed with their attempt to repeal it, the Ohio attorney general said on Friday.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine certified summary language for a referendum seeking repeal of Senate Bill 5. This language needed to be certified in order for opponents of the bill to start collecting about 231,000 signatures to get it on the November ballot.

Dennis Williard, a spokesman for "We Are Ohio," a consortium of unions backing the referendum effort, said enthusiasm is running high.

"We have an unprecedented number of volunteers asking to be allowed to circulate petitions," Williard said.

The law signed by Gov. John Kasich last month restricts bargaining for 360,000 state workers, teachers, police officers and firefighters and bans them from striking.

The signatures must be gathered by the effective date of legislation, which is 90 days after the law was enrolled with the Secretary of State. If the law gets on the ballot, it will not take effect unless the repeal effort fails in November.

Ohio was the second state after Wisconsin to enact sweeping curbs on public sector unions. The Wisconsin law also has not gone into effect because of legal challenges.

(Writing by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Greg McCune)