Leo XIII - 1; Gov. Kasich - 0

by Michael Sean Winters

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Voters in Ohio overwhelmingly voted to overturn a law passed by the GOP-dominated legislature and signed by Republican Gov. John Kasich that would have stripped public employee unions of most of their collective bargaining rights.

This is a triumph, in the first place, for the rights to organize and collectively bargain. It is also a victory for all middle class workers who have a vested interest in seeing unions achieve their goals, raising the tide of wages for everyone. The decline of union members as a percentage of the workforce tracks identically with the decline of middle class wages over the past forty years. The vote is also a triumph for the commitment to labor first evidenced in papal teaching in Pope Leo's encyclical Rerum Novarum, 121 years ago, even if the bishops of Ohio, acting through their Catholic Conference, shamefully punted on opposing Kasich's union-busting law.

The Tea Party that swept the midterm elections in 2010 produced a counter-force among those committed to social justice. This is how democracy is supposed to work. And, the lesson for GOP politicians should be obvious - don't over-reach or you will get spanked by the voters. Kasich got spanked big time yesterday.

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