COLUMBUS — Ohio’s new law restricting the collective bargaining power of public employees is headed for the ballot.
Secretary of State Jon Husted Thursday announced that opponents of Senate Bill 5 had filed 915,456 valid signatures of registered voters to put the law before voters on Nov. 8. They needed 231,147, and had to surpass 3 percent of the vote cast in last year’s gubernatorial election in at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties. Mr. Husted said they qualified in all 88 counties.
The announcement came as organizations representing big labor, civil rights groups, churches, seniors, and veterans met in Columbus to present a united front that they said will last long past the ballot fight this year.
Richard Trumka, national president of the AFL-CIO, pledged that dollars from outside Ohio will flow to the state to battle what he characterized as big-money interests on the other side seeking to defend the law.
“There will be significant recognition, just like there will be in Wisconsin and a couple of other states, because they are high-profile governors that have bought into a national campaign to destroy the voices of working people and the progressives so they have a clear playing field in politics,’’ he said.
He wouldn’t put any numbers behind the dollar sign, however.
He pointed to a Quinnipiac Poll released Wednesday that said 56 percent of voters say the law should be repealed. The same poll, however, said that voters do like some elements of the bill, including provisions requiring workers to pay more toward their health care and pensions and substituting a merit pay system for automatic hikes.
Among other things, the law prohibits public employee strikes and eliminates the automatic deduction of “fair share’’ fees from workers who refuse to join the union in their workplace.
A separate proposed ballot issue, one pushed by the opposite end of the political spectrum, is still waiting to see it has qualified for the ballot. A proposed constitutional amendment would allow Ohioans to reject mandates under President Obama’s health care law that requires Americans to obtain health insurance.