The Columbus Dispatch had this to say today...
Draw the line
Gov. Strickland should lead the effort to defeat proposed sick-day mandate
Thursday, August 21, 2008 3:03 AM
Gov. Ted Strickland has been trying for weeks to broker a deal to derail a November ballot issue that would require Ohio employers with 25 or more workers to provide seven paid sick days to employees. The governor knows the mandate would be toxic for Ohio's moribund economy, harming existing businesses, hobbling job growth and sending a message to businesses worldwide to locate anywhere but Ohio.
But the effort has failed. Small employers see no way to compromise with an economic noose. So now the governor should declare the mandate a job-killer and announce that if proponents won't withdraw the ballot issue, he will lead a campaign to defeat it.
There is no question that the ballot measure, sprung by surprise on the governor by the Service Employees International Union, presents him with the greatest political dilemma he has faced so far.
Labor is a core constituency of the Democratic Party and was instrumental in Strickland's election. He already has begun rewarding that support, for example, by signing executive orders allowing unions, including the SEIU, to organize 15,000 independent home-health-care and child-care workers. He also is preparing a revision of state prevailing-wage policies that seems designed to expand the instances in which contractors -- perhaps even those working on primarily private projects -- will be required to pay union wages.
Saying no to labor is not something that any elected Democrat undertakes lightly. But that is precisely what Strickland should do. The sick-day mandate is one of the most serious leadership challenges he is likely to face. It poses a direct threat to his plan to turn around the state's deeply wounded economy and is likely to perpetuate or worsen Ohio's 7.2 percent jobless rate.
The governor has said that anyone who thinks he can call on the SEIU to drop the ballot issue is overestimating his power. But the governor is underestimating it. He is riding a high tide of public approval; he already has been generous to labor and has nothing more to prove. And most of all, Ohioans believe that he is serious when he says that fixing Ohio's economy is his top priority.
If he says that this mandate will hurt Ohio, the SEIU might not listen. But voters will.
The greatest test of a political leader's courage is when he is called upon to say no to his friends. For the good of Ohio, that is what the governor should do.