July 1, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Gov. Kasich wades into fight over collective-bargaining law

TOLEDO, Ohio — Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Thursday made his first personal appearance to promote a collective bargaining overhaul he signed into law this spring, speaking in a packed concert room booked after crowds grew too large for two other locations.

The Republican governor was joined by Toledo Mayor Michael Bell, a former firefighter who appeared in campaign ads favoring the law, and state Sen. Mark Wagoner, a Republican from suburban Ottawa Hills.

Kasich focused first on positive developments in the Toledo area, and then turned to the collective bargaining law, which he said was crucial for Ohio’s future.

“If we’re not about change this state won’t make it,” Kasich said to about 250 invited supporters of the law at the Omni Midwest banquet hall.

Outside, a few dozen opponents of the law called for Bell’s ouster.

Opponents are seeking to overturn the law, which limits the bargaining abilities of 350,000 teachers, nurses, firefighters, police and other public workers around the state. It bans strikes, scraps binding arbitration and eliminates teacher step increases.

A Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday showed more Ohioans disapprove than approve of both Kasich and the union law.