ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
Karen Kasler of Ohio Public Radio reports that a bill has passed the Senate there and hearings begin in the House tomorrow.
KAREN KASLER: Unidentified Group: Hey, hey, ho, ho, (unintelligible). Hey, hey...
KASLER: Add to that, the urgent pleas of lawmakers, like Republican State Senator Shannon Jones.
SHANNON JONES: If we fail to take action, many of our state and local governments will have no other option but mass layoffs.
KASLER: Now, let's add the voice of a lawmaker who's furious about proposed changes for collective bargaining for state workers.
TIM GRENDELL: It is a crime against the people of Ohio. It is a crime against the taxpayers of Ohio. It's a crime against my grandchildren and the future of Ohio.
KASLER: Kasich is a former congressman and Wall Street executive. And like Scott Walker, his counterpart in Wisconsin, Kasich has been leading the charge to dramatically limit the power of government workers unions. Under this bill, they'd be able to bargain collectively for wages, but little else. Even before he was sworn in, Kasich was not shy about going after public worker unions.
JOHN KASICH: My personal philosophy is I don't like public employees striking, okay? I mean, they've got good jobs, they've got a high pay, they've got good benefits, a great retirement. What are they striking for?
KASLER: Benjamin Sachs specializes in labor issues at Harvard University, and he's been following the collective bargaining bills in both states.
BENJAMIN SACHS: The opposition among the Republican Party in Ohio, which we're not seeing in Wisconsin, may well have to do with the fact that police and fire are not exempted in Ohio and are in Wisconsin.
KASLER: Richard Vedder is a professor of economics at Ohio University.
RICHARD VEDDER: Neither the governor in Wisconsin nor in Ohio have a particular love for teachers unions.
KASLER: Kasich has certainly made no secret of his irritation with teachers unions. They supported his opponent and campaigned against him. And since Ohio's collective bargaining bill was introduced, Kasich has repeatedly defended it.
KASICH: Change is really, really hard. You know, it's just difficult. And change sometimes brings about fear, and fear brings about anger. It's just the way life is.
KASLER: For NPR News, I'm Karen Kasler in Columbus.
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