Updated from 11:48 a.m. EST with information regarding the planned protests.
NEW YORK (
) -- Protesters were gathering at Ohio's statehouse in Columbus on Tuesday to rally against state Senate Bill 5, which would eliminate collective bargaining rights of state employees, including teachers.
Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio believes the bill will be able to "restore some balance to the system" rather than destroy unions, he said in an interview with
Republican Gov. John Kasich
"It's right for them to be able to negotiate their own salary," Kasich said, "but we need to let managers be able to determine things like keeping the pension systems healthy, making sure that that the costs related to health care are consistent with private sector workers."
The Ohio General Assembly will look at the legislation, which is similar to the proposal introduced by Republican Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin. And
, Ohio's Senate Bill 5 has drawn protests from public employee unions in the state.
Local workers from around the state boarded buses on Tuesday morning to head to the planned rally against the bill, Cincinnati's
reports. Thousands of protesters are expected to gather at the state house for the rally that starts at 1 p.m. EST.
The Senate bill would require public workers to pay more toward health insurance premiums and implement a merit-based pay system for some government workers. It would also get rid of tenure as a factor in deciding who gets laid off.
Cincinnati School Board President Eve Bolton agrees with some aspects of the bill, however she opposes the measure in its overall current form.
Bolton pointed out that while the Ohio school boards would like to have more financial flexibility, educators rank money below a number of items on their "school year wish list."
"The first two things that teachers ask for in a contract are, if you will, an ability to help control the environment of teaching and learning, and second, a great principal," Bolton told Ohio's
WLWT News 5
. "That shows the need for collaboration in an academic community."
Kasich defended that bill, explaining that with an $8 billion budget deficit, the new legislation could benefit Ohio.
"We frankly want to give the managers in the local communities and our schools the ability to control their costs so they don't have to raise taxes and drive businesses and more jobs out," Kasich said. "What we're trying to here is to balance it out, to make sure that management has some power and some tools to create to control their costs.
"If the unions want to keep talking and negotiating, that's fine, but we don't want binding arbitration, where an outsider comes in and imposes a settlement on a community that the community can't afford," Kasich said.
Ohio lawmakers are not expected to vote on the bill on Tuesday, but a full Senate vote could come as early as next week.
-- Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.
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