In 2011, Ohio Republicans, a little too excited after their 2010 victories, pushed their luck and paid a price. Gov. John Kasich (R) and GOP state lawmakers pushed through SB 5, curbing the rights of public-employee unions -- and almost immediately thereafter, Buckeye State voters undid it.
At the time, far-right activists were pushing Kasich and his party for an anti-union "right-to-work" measure, and the governor basically told conservatives that after the public backlash to SB 5, they'd have to wait. "You know, you go out deep-sea fishing, you catch a lot of sharks," Kasich said in early 2012. "We've caught 'em. Once in a while the shark eats you, OK?
Republicans apparently believe the sharks have swam away.
The Ohio Capital Blog posted this video yesterday from a hearing on the "right-to-work" proposal, where the argument began on a contentious note, and will likely intensify as it proceeds.
What's more, the AP reported today:
Labor backers are making clear their opposition to a pair of bills aiming to strip Ohio unions of their power to compel membership and automatically collect dues.Hundreds showed up Tuesday at the Ohio Statehouse, where the first -- and probably the last -- hearing was being held on right-to-work legislation proposed by Republican state Reps. Kristina Roegner and Ron Maag.... The so-called "Workplace Freedom" bill would apply to private-sector unions. A companion measure would apply to public-sector unions.
It's too soon to say how this will turn out, but for Ohio Republicans to pursue this less than two years after voters overwhelmingly rejected an anti-union measure on the statewide ballot certainly takes chutzpah.
Update: As the fight unfolds in Ohio, it's worth keeping in mind that these GOP proposal will have their committee hearing "but that doesn't mean the legislation is on the move."