Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican like his counterpart, Scott Walker, in Wisconsin, praised the development. Both have pushed the collective bargaining bills as part of budget-balancing measures.
"This is a major step forward in correcting the imbalance between taxpayers and the government unions that work for them," Kasich said.
Republican Sens. Tim Grendell, of Chesterland, and Bill Seitz, of Cincinnati, spoke out against the new provision to resolve disputes. Grendell said the process would turn workers into beggars before city councils and other officials who oversee them.
"No one can be a judge and advocate in their own cause," Seitz said. "That's called heads I win, tails you lose."
The bill had passed a Senate committee after leadership replaced Seitz on the panel after he expressed disappointment in the bill, a move that secured the votes needed to get the legislation before the full Senate.
Extra chairs had to be brought in to accommodate the public attending the debate in the Senate chamber. Prohibited from clapping, many wagged or waved their hands in response to pro-labor comments.
The bill now goes to the state House, where the GOP holds a 59-40 majority. If passed there, it would go to Kasich, a strong supporter.
Anthony Caldwell, spokesman for the Service Employees International Union, District 1199, said the union's focus will now turn to the House. Members there serve shorter terms and may be more vulnerable to repercussions at the ballot box than senators, he said.
"We hope that the members of the House will understand the valuable role working families play in their districts," he said. "The House is a two-year body. Whatever happens, people are going to remember that. This isn't just about union issues, this is about working people."
During the debate in the chamber, Republicans defeated Democrats' request to have the entire bill read aloud. GOP Sen. Scott Oelslager, of North Canton, sided with Democrats on that issue, as he did on the bill.
The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Shannon Jones, said the bill, which would change a 27-year-old Ohio law, is long overdue and would help state and local governments control costs.
"The time has come to make some very tough decisions," she told her Senate colleagues.
Jones said the bill is not an attack on the middle class, prompting snickering and coughs from members of the public in the crowded chamber. Democratic lawmakers pointed out teachers, pipefitters and public safety workers from their districts at the start of the hearing.
Standing in the Statehouse Rotunda after the vote, Columbus firefighter Terry Marsh said he understood Legislature's need to look for ways to save on costs and examine collective bargaining.
"But to ram something through within a few weeks is irresponsible, and to blame the budget woes of the state on the workers is a downright travesty," he said.
Article taken from the Huntington Post. Author Ann Sanner. Associated Press writers Andrew Welsh-Huggins and Julie Carr Smyth contributed to this report.