Gov. John Kasich's major legislative effort to curtail collective bargaining for public employees is headed for defeat at the polls, putting labor on the offensive in one of the few times since the Republican wave during the 2010 midterm elections.
Known as SB5, a poll from Quinnipiac University shows that Ohio voters support repealing the collective bargaining law, 57 to 32 percent. The poll was released Tuesday in the final two-week stretch before Election Day, Nov. 8.
[Opponents of the law] have once again taken a commanding lead, said Peter Brown, assistant director of Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. Except for Republicans, just about every demographic group favors repealing the law.
The law prevents public employees from bargaining collectively and striking. Also, union members' contribution to health care benefits and pensions would increase, seniority as sole factor for layoffs would end, and pay raises would be based on merit.
While merit-based pay and more benefit contributions are popular, collective bargaining and strike provisions draw major opposition, outweighing support by double digits.
Though the opposition is primarily from Democrats, more than half of surveyed independent voters support overturning the law. Republicans, meanwhile, oppose repeal of SB5 59 to 32 percent, according to Quinnipiac.
The law has also dragged down Kasich's popularity. More than half of surveyed voters disapprove of the Republican's job performance, 52 to 36 percent.
Unions, Progressive Groups Fight Back
If unions and progressive groups succeed on repealing the law on Election Day, labor will get a much needed shot in the arm going into the 2012 elections.
The last effort organized around an anti-union collective bargaining law ended in mixed-results.
After Wisconsin's new Republican order took office this year, efforts began to limit collective bargaining for most state workers, sparing fire fighters and law enforcement.
Ultimately, after a bevy of legal actions and protests in the statehouse that foreshadowed the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, the law was passed and a recall effort began against state senators from both parties.
While Democrats won their recent recall elections, they fell one seat short at taking back the state Senate from Republicans. Democrats did, however, beat two Republican incumbent state senators, making the recall effort far short of a complete bust.