Although the union-busting mayhem in Wisconsin has gotten most of the attention, Republicans throughout the Great Lakes region have been assaulting workers' rights, pay and benefits. Ohio moved a step closer to joining Wisconsin in infamy Tuesday, as a bill that would restrict public workers' collective bargaining rights and proscribe them from striking passed out of committee and was sent to the full House for a Wednesday vote.
While a judge in Wisconsin reiterated her order for that state's union-busting measure to be put on hold while a lawsuit against it is litigated, the nine Republicans on Ohio's House committee voted for their version of the anti-worker law. Six Democrats voted against it.
It was not immediately known whether the Republicans' plutocrat overlords had yet granted their vassals any tokens for hacking down the local peasantry. While Wisconsin's law was passed and measures in Ohio and Indiana were still pending, none had yet been enacted, and the GOP's wealthy masters might demand complete implementation before bestowing rewards and fiefs.
Republicans are in the majority in Ohio's lower chamber, and are expected to bestow their blessing on the union-busting measure immediately. The Ohio Senate, also run by Republicans, passed a similar bill by a 17-16 margin earlier in the month.
Ohio's Republican Governor John Kasich had been vying with his Republican counterparts in nearby states to deliver the most extreme worker-strangling laws the fastest. He downplayed the possibility that the House bill wasn't as severe as the Senate version. House bill, while outlawing workers' right to strike, lost a provision that promoted jail time for workers who went on strike. Workers in many public sector jobs may be fired if they are found to have criminal records.
More importantly, the Ohio legislation stripped unions of the ability to use payroll deductions for union organizing and collective political action. As the unions have been reliable supporters of the Democratic Party, Republicans have long coveted breaking their ability to raise money for elections and political causes. While Republicans constantly protest that their actions are purely to balance state budgets strapped because of Republican tax giveaways to their plutocrat masters, the union-busting measures are nothing more than partisan political vendettas aimed at destroying workers' abilities to organize opposition to GOP tyranny.
Should the Ohio law reach Kasich for his signature soon enough, he would have significantly closed the gap created by Wisconsin's early passage of their law. Wisconsin's governor signed his bill March 11, but a state judge blocked its implementation pending a legal challenge to the law. Wisconsin Republican officials, in open defiance of the court order, had tried to publish the law among the state's official announcements, and claim that by itself made the law's implementation a fait accompli. With Herculean patience and charity, the judge, Maryann Sumi, issued specific orders prohibiting Wisconsin's Republican Secretary of State Doug La Follette from taking any action to implement the law. Clearly, Judge Sumi could have found La Follette and Governor Scott Walker in contempt of court, and issued bench warrants for their arrest.
Indiana Republicans also moved closer to passing their union-busting bill, as that state's Democrats ended a five-week boycott to stall action. It is now a three-way race for to see which set of GOP toadies will be the first to lay their victim's head before their overlords.
While the GOP thugs vie for the honor to be first to scourge their workers, all will flay their peasantry however possible. They have also pledged to bestow their plutocrats with state assets such as buildings and power plants, as well as plunder from pension and unemployment insurance funds. Republican rapacity is unlimited in its scope and arrogance.