Asked whether the collective bargaining law, called Issue 2, was a referendum on Kasich, Redfern said, "Absolutely. He was the face of the campaign. John Kasich chose to put his face on this campaign for the last eight weeks. The people of the state pushed back."
Labor and business interests poured more than $30 million into the nationally watched campaign, and turnout was high for an off-year election.
The law hadn't taken effect yet. Tuesday's result means the state's current union rules will stand, at least until the GOP-controlled Legislature determines its next move. Republican House Speaker William Batchelder predicted last week that the more palatable elements of the collective bargaining bill — such as higher minimum contributions on worker health insurance and pensions — are likely to be revisited after the dust settles.
Earlier Tuesday, voter Janet Tipton, a 46-year-old nurse and a Teamsters union member at a private health care center, said Issue 2 was the only reason she came out to vote.
"If they break the union, we won't have anything," she said outside a church on Toledo's east side. "They'll come after us, too."
She said retaining the union-limiting law would have affected quality of care for the elderly because it would have meant fewer nurses per patient.
Earlier this year, thousands of people swarmed the Statehouse in protest when the bill was being heard. The bill still allowed bargaining on wages, working conditions and some equipment but banned strikes, scrapped binding arbitration and dropped promotions based solely on seniority, among other provisions.
Kasich and fellow supporters promoted the law as a means for local governments to save money and keep workers. Their effort was supported by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business-Ohio, farmers and others.
We Are Ohio, the largely union-funded opponent coalition, painted the issue as a threat to public safety and middle-class workers, spending millions of dollars on TV ads filled with images of firefighters, police officers, teachers and nurses.
Celebrities came out on both sides of the campaign, with former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and singer Pat Boone urging voters to retain the law and former astronaut and U.S. Sen. John Glenn and the Rev. Jesse Jackson urging them to scrap it.
Labor and business interests poured more than $30 million into the nationally watched campaign, with the law's opponents far outspending and outnumbering its defenders.