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COLUMBUS, OH - A union supporter outside during Gov. John Kasich's March 2011 State of the State address. (Getty Images)

Unions Reject Ohio Gov. Kasich's Offer For Collective-Bargaining Law Meeting

by Elise Hu
Aug 18, 2011

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Union leaders in Ohio rejected Republican Gov. John Kasich's offer to "sit down and talk" about a possible compromise over a sweeping law that limits collective bargaining.

The compromise offer is part of an attempt to pull a referendum on the new Ohio law off the November ballot. If voters choose repeal, the measure — restricting collective-bargaining rights for more than 350,000 teachers, police officers and other state employees — won't take effect.

Kasich and Republican leaders said the run up to the vote would be a "costly political battle that will likely result in lasting scars and bitter divisions," so he invited union leaders to meet with him tomorrow morning. The RSVP list never filled up. StateImpact Ohio reports:

Just two days ago We Are Ohio, the group leading the referendum effort said it wouldn't agree to any compromise. In a press release sent out immediately after Kasich's press conference, spokeswoman Melissa Fazekas reaffirmed that.

"We're glad that Governor Kasich and the other politicians who passed SB 5 are finally admitting this is a flawed bill. Just like the bill was flawed, this approach to a compromise is flawed as well. Our message is clear... They should either repeal the entire bill or support our efforts and encourage a 'no' vote on Issue 2."

The offer to compromise comes a week after Wisconsin's collective bargaining-limiting law led voters to recall two Republican state senators who supported it.

Kasich's office told the Washington Post that the results in Wisconsin had nothing to do with Kasich's move, pointing to a previous effort to unite and cut a deal behind closed doors in June. That effort also failed.

Elise Hu is the digital editor of NPR's StateImpact effort, that focuses on government reporting in the states. Read more about it.

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