On Nov. 8, Ohio voters will decide the future of collective bargaining, a referendum with major political implications in this state and across the country.
Groups on both sides of Issue 2 – the name of the referendum on the new collective bargaining law, otherwise known as Senate Bill 5 – are beginning to roll out their campaign machines. Both sides have produced television ads and begun to reach out to voters.
"Each side is going to try to educate the voters," said John Green, executive director of the University of Akron's Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics. "Of course, they are going to educate them alongside their point of view."
On Saturday, We Are Ohio, the pro-union coalition against SB5, opened a campaign office in Shaker Square by rallying volunteers and then sending them out door-to-door and by telephone to convince voters their side is right. They are also airing television ads.
Senate Bill 5, championed by Republican Gov. John Kasich, was approved by the GOP-controlled legislature in March and restricts collective bargaining rights for the state's roughly 360,000 public-sector employees. Not one Democrat voted for the bill.
But opponents rallied by collecting more than 900,000 verified signatures to get the law placed on the Nov. 8 ballot as Issue 2. A yes vote upholds the new collective bargaining law. A no vote repeals it.
Supporters of the law believe it will help government better control the heavy burden of personnel costs, reducing taxing and spending and helping create new jobs. They say that Senate Bill 5 restores a balance between the needs of government works and the ability of the taxpayers to fund government operations.
Opponents say the law is an unfair attack on workers' rights and goes after the people who make government work: the teachers, fire fighters and police who work in communities across Ohio. They say SB5 will cost jobs and lower wages for middle-class families across the state.
Patch will have extensive coverage of this issue throughout the campaign, so check back often to find out the latest on the Issue 2 battle.