Washington – Voters in Ohio overturned a state law that would have sharply restricted the collective-bargaining rights of some 350,000 unionized public employees.
More than 60 percent of those who cast ballots on Tuesday voted against the law pushed by Republican Gov. John Kasich, a former congressman and Fox News commentator who spent seven years as a managing director with now-bankrupt investment bank Lehman Brothers.
The law would have barred Ohio police, firefighters, teachers and other public employees from bargaining over pensions and health care benefits, while eliminating binding arbitration in cases where negotiations break down.
Strikes by public employees would also have been outlawed.
Tuesday's result was hailed by labor leaders, including Becky Williams, Ohio president of District 1199 of the Service Employees International Union.
"Even after John Kasich locked the doors to democracy and shut out everyday heroes from the Statehouse, in the cold, blister of February - working people never lost hope. We marched in the spring, circulated petitions in the summer and now, this fall, we delivered a win for all working people by defeating Issue 2, repealing Senate Bill 5," she said.
The Obama administration also welcomed the outcome.
President Barack Obama "congratulates the people of Ohio for standing up for workers and defeating efforts to strip away collective bargaining rights, and commends the teachers, firefighters, nurses, police officers and other workers who took a stand to defend those rights," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.