By MARC KOVAC
Gov. John Kasich has a message for the union representatives and their families concerned about the impact of controversial collective-bargaining reform moving through the Legislature.
“What we are doing in this state is designed to make sure that your kids have a future in this state,” Kasich told reporters at the Statehouse on Friday.
“That your kids can stay in this state, that they can have jobs in this state and that your family can be prosperous.
“This is not an attack on you. This is not a political operation. I could care less about the politics.”
And the governor said he will sign Senate Bill 5 when it arrives on his desk, though without the public fanfare of other recent bill signings.
“I don’t anticipate some big deal, because this is hard for people. ... I want to be respectful of other people’s feelings, their thoughts and their emotions.”
He added, “I grew up in a union household. I understand human nature, because I’m a human, too. And when somebody decides they want to change something on me, I don’t like it. That’s OK. My job is to continue to push forward.”
Kasich’s comments came two days after the Ohio Senate passed Senate Bill 5, which would make sweeping changes to the state’s collective-bargaining laws, banning strikes by all public employees and limiting union-negotiation terms.
The legislation has drawn thousands of union protesters to the Statehouse in recent weeks and a continuing outcry among Democrats and a few Republicans.
Committee hearings in the Ohio House on Senate Bill 5 are expected to start in coming days.
But House Speaker Bill Batchelder, a Republican from Medina, agreed Friday that it was unrealistic for the bill to be put up for a floor vote next week, noting Kasich’s State of the State address and expected action on the two-year budget for the Ohio Departments of Transportation and Public Safety.
“I want to make sure that our people know what it is — it’s a pretty big bill — before we move it,” he said. “I think to me that’s very important.”
He added, “I’m never hung about doing something fast as I am about doing it thorough.”