Kasich is a Union Buster
In 2011, Kasich spearheaded and pushed through a law barring public sector workers, including firefighters and police, from collectively bargaining for better wages and working conditions. A petition drive to overturn the law ultimately turned in a record 1.3 million signatures and a year later, voters overwhelmingly overturned the law.
Soon after, Kasich said he learned his lesson. He clearly did not. Instead of promoting a wholesale effort to strip away workers’ rights, he’s done it piece by piece.
Last year, he issued an executive order stripping away union rights from nearly 10,000 independent home health-care and in-home child-care workers.
In an effort to reduce union jobs, the administration privatized food service in state prisons. Aramark, the winning firm, lost a similar contract in Michigan because of food safety concerns that included serving a cake after slicing off the section that had been eaten by rats. The presence of maggots in the food at two Ohio prisons, Aramark employees who had personal relationships with inmates and security violations from contraband smuggling were not enough to get Aramark tossed out of Ohio. Even after the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association submitted a proposal to provide the services at a lower price, state officials rejected it, saying the proposal was flawed.
In February of 2015, Kasich threatened to “take an ax” to state funding of Ohio’s public universities if they didn’t cut costs. Kasich’s Task Force on Affordability and Efficiency in Higher Education provided guidelines to cut costs through privatization of assets. Soon after, Ohio State University’s parking garages were privatized, resulting in higher costs and worse service.
OSU last year announced that it plans to privatize its energy – including natural gas, electricity and water for heating and cooling. Faculty, staff and students have all raised opposition to the plan, based largely on their experiences of OSU privatizing their parking. The task force works to reduce the number of public sector jobs, it has sat in silence as top-level OSU administrators began receiving huge pay increases and bonuses.
And Kasich has had a hard time hiding his contempt for unions while on the Presidential campaign trail. During an education summit in New Hampshire Kasich proposed removing teacher’s lounges to stop them gathering together and complaining. “So if I were, not president, but if I were king in America, I would abolish all teachers’ lounges, where they sit together and worry about, ‘Woe is us.‘”
Teachers have been among Kasich’s bigger targets. He has consistently funneled more state money to poorly performing charter schools that tend to pay lower wages and have higher turnover than traditional public schools. And while marketing himself as a fearless opponent of corporate welfare, his appointees at the Ohio Department of Education have a history of covering up charter school scandals that include everything from shoddy academic performance to sexual misconduct in the classroom.