Collective bargaining goes up for vote in Ohio

JULIE CARR SMYTH Associated Press Published:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The fate of Ohio's contentious new public worker collective bargaining law is nearing decision time. Polls have closed in an expensive campaign that pitted teachers, firefighters and police officers against the state's Republican leadership.

Voters had the choice of retaining or jettisoning restrictions on how 350,000 workers can negotiate with the governments in the state.

The first 4 percent of voters counted Tuesday were handily defeating the law.

The legislation sets mandatory health care and pension minimums for unionized government employees, bans public worker strikes, scraps binding arbitration and prohibits basing promotions solely on seniority.

Supporters promoted the law as a means for local governments to save money and keep workers. Opponents said the union limits threatened public safety with little proof of cost savings.

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Associated Press writers Ann Sanner in Columbus and Lisa Cornwell in Cincinnati contributed to this report.

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