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Support for the controversial plan, known as Senate Bill 5, was so splintered among majority Republicans that Senate President Tom Niehaus was forced to yank two GOP dissenters from Senate committees earlier Wednesday so the bill could move to the floor for a full vote.
The bill redefines what contract terms public workers can collectively bargain with their employer. Wages can still be negotiated. Health care benefits, pension pick-ups and other provisions, however, will be off the table. And management can decide to negotiate other terms, including safety forces' equipment.
The bill also bans public workers from striking, establishes penalties for striking -- including jail time -- and establishes a new system for resolving labor disputes. Instead of binding arbitration, the employer's legislative body, such as a city council, would decide whether to side with a union or management.
A merit-based pay system would be established . If workers are laid off, length of employment could not be the only factor under consideration.
Opponents also worried about the impact on safety forces. Union leaders for police and firefighters said the law would leave it up to management whether quality of equipment, such as bulletproof vests, could be bargained.
Six Republicans joined all 10 Senate Democrats in voting against the bill, resulting in a final vote of 17-16. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives, which has a 59-40 Republican majority.