November 9 2011
Carrie L. Lukas
The vote in Ohio to roll back Gov. Kasich's public union reform is getting much press this morning. It's being cast as a big win for big labor, and certainly it is a reminder of union-power at the ballot box. Especially in an off-year election like this, the ability to turn out the vote is key. Union officials excel at getting members to cast ballots—especially when there's so much at stake for unions themselves.
Unions portrayed efforts to reform how public sector union operate as an assault on “worker rights,” but it's really about restoring more balance. As I write here, under the current regime, government workers negotiate contracts with politicians who are too happy to give away super-sized pay and benefit packages in return for union support. It's no surprise that government workers end up making far more than those in the private sector.
If the battle over unions can be properly understood as a case of concentrated interests (the unions) winning over diffuse interests (other Ohio citizens), Ohio's vote on Issue 3, the Health Care Freedom Amendment, sends a clear message that Ohio citizens don't want government controlling their health care decisions. Our sister organization, Independent Women's Voice, worked hard to help educate voters on this issue.
The very fact that the union spent millions to turn out their supporters to vote on Issue 2, and that Issue 3 still came out as a loud repudiation of ObamaCare, shows just how profoundly the public rejects the concept of government-run health care. The very people who were heading to the ballot box to defend Big Labor still voted against government-run healthcare. That's quite a message.
We hope that's a message heard by representatives in Washington, both in Congress and in the Supreme Court, that Americans reject the idea that government should force free citizens to buy a certain government-approved insurance package and believe individuals deserve to make their own decisions about health care.