Ohio anti-union bill signed into law

School teacher Marcus Williams (L) participates in a rally along with other members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union, in front of the Maryland State Capitol building on March 14, 2011 (Mark Wilson / Getty Image / AFP)
Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich has signed into law a bill aimed at restricting collective bargaining rights for state employee union workers, following Wisconsin and other states targeting organized labor.

In addition to restricting collective bargaining rights the new law also requires state government workers to make minimum payments for their health-care coverage and pensions and disallows automatic payments from government paychecks to union political groups.

The governor signed the bill just one day after it passed the state legislature.

State Democrats who oppose the law are calling on the voters to repeal the law before it can take effect. To do so, activists would have to collect over 231,000 voter signatures on petitions within 90 days of the law’s passage to place the law on hold until a public vote could be held – a challenging feat at best.

The new law applies to state teachers, nurses and other government workers, including police, rescue workers, and firefighters.

The State’s Republicans however have overwhelmingly supported the legislation.

Helping local governments reduce their costs so they can begin lightening Ohio’s tax burden helps us compete better against states that are far friendlier to job creators,” Kasich said in a statement released by his office.

Democrats however contend that Republicans are not seeking to help local governments or reduce spending; they are merely trying to destroy unions and organized labor in order to gain favor with groups like the Tea Party.

They [union workers] do not deserve to be slapped in the face and put further into harm’s way, because the liberty groups or Tea Party groups or whoever is pulling the Republican strings right now have demonized public workers,” said Democratic Representative Matt Szollosi.

The Ohio legislation follows infamous legislation passed in Wisconsin which eliminated collective bargaining rights and shredded a number of other union benefits. That law is currently tied up in the courts.