Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) said Tuesday night that "the people have spoken" in rejecting the state's new public employee union law.

With 49 percent of the precincts reporting, 61.8 percent of voters had rejected the law, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

“This vote indicates Ohioans not only support public employees, but they also understand we have been problem solvers and have done so by making more than $1 billion in sacrifices in just the last three years,” said Doug Stern, Cincinnati Firefighter. "We all know it didn't have to be this way, and it doesn't have to be this way moving forward.”

Ohio Senate Bill 5 Voter Referendum, Issue 2 would have limited collective bargaining for public employees in the state if approved. Police officers, firefighters, teachers, and other state employees could still negotiate for some benefits, but not wages. Public employees would also be prohibited from striking.

Kasich had said the law was needed to save the state money.

Issue 2 was placed on the November 8 ballot after the pro-labor coalition We Are Ohio delivered nearly 1.3 million signatures to the Secretary of State’s office in June to repeal Senate Bill 5.

“Many Ohioans have been with us since the beginning,” said Courtney Johnson, a public school teacher in Ironton. “From the day we were locked out of the statehouse to the day we turned in 1.3 million signatures, we have felt the support of Ohioans. Tonight we thank you and all Ohio voters for your historic and overwhelming support of collective bargaining rights for Ohio’s everyday heroes.”

Photo credit: Progress Ohio