Defeat of SB 5 could embolden private-sector unions, Kasich warns

CLEVELAND -- Gov. John Kasich said today that a Republican loss on Senate Bill 5 this fall could make it easier for private-sector workers to unionize.

Speaking to about 250 people at an event hosted by the Harvard Business School Club of Northeast Ohio and the Association for Corporate Growth, Kasich said, "if this bill doesn't pass, don't be surprised if you see card check."

Senate Bill 5, which is subject to a voter referendum Nov. 8 through State Issue 2, weakens collective bargaining for 360,000 public employees in Ohio. It does not affect collective bargaining for unionized employees at private businesses.

When asked following his speech how a Senate Bill 5 defeat could lead to card check legislation in Ohio, Kasich said, "That might be the next thing; you just don't know."

Card check is an alternative, simplified method for employees to unionize by signing cards saying they want to be represented by a labor union. It is a major item on labor's national agenda, and is backed by many Democrats.

"You get people emboldened, you don't know what it will lead to," Kasich said. "It's a legitimate concern. There's a lot of things that could come. I'm not saying they will, but people who get emboldened, they do more aggressive things.

"These people who are in business, they live in fear of these kinds of things."

Senate Bill 5 was introduced and passed by Republicans in the legislature and signed by Kasich, also a Republican. Endorsements from business groups such as the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the Ohio Manufacturers Association have been rolling in.

While Kasich warned of union expansion should the measure be repealed, he also said he didn't think Ohio "needed to go in that direction" when asked if it should become a right-to-work-state.

Kasich delivered his speech at Cleveland's Union Club, near Playhouse Square.

Columbus Dispatch, Wed Sept 8 2011
Byline: Joe Vardon

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