Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he’s against joblessness, not unions, and is working on a state budget proposal aimed at creating jobs and economic growth.
The Republican worked on his budget Saturday as people rallied nearby at the Statehouse to protest Senate Bill 5, which would limit unions’ collective bargaining rights, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
“I’m not anti-union,” Kasich told the newspaper. “I think unions are an important part of the American fabric, but what we’re doing here is basically to start sticking up for taxpayers and private-sector workers who have made enormous sacrifices over the last decade.”
Kasich said compensation for public employees has become more generous than in the private sector.
“It is very reasonable to have the same kind of provisions that private workers get,” the governor said. “I said during the campaign that what I was interested in was creating equity between public and private employees and that is exactly what this bill represents.”
Kasich said he sometimes talks with fellow GOP governors but denied they’re part of a coordinated effort to kill unions for public employees. He said he frequently talks to Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin, where a similar bill has caused nearly two weeks of protests with as many as 70,000 demonstrators.
Smaller rallies have been held in cities around Ohio, including Columbus, and organizers are planning another gathering this week at the Statehouse.
Calling the protesters “very nice people,” Kasich to the Dispatch he understands their concerns and isn’t trying to hurt anyone. Republicans working on the bill are trying to help elected officials control spending, which would make local governments stronger and improve job security for public workers, he said.