Two bills that could’ve made Ohio a right-to-work state in both the public and private sectors were stalled in the legislature just hours after they were introduced. Now hundreds of thousands of union workers in the state, many of whom have watched Michigan’s struggles, are being urged to view these recent developments as a wakeup call despite the outcome.
“After discussions with other leaders and my caucus, I don’t believe there is current support for this issue in the General Assembly,” said Senate President Keith Faber, a Republican. Republican colleagues introduced the bills.
The bills would have served to “eliminate compulsory unionism” in the state by prohibiting the mandatory participation in a union or the payment of union-related fees as a condition of employment.
“Although we dodged a bullet this time, this should be a call to arms that we can’t afford to let our guard down,” said an Ohio labor member. “Lawmakers tabled the issue for now. Ohioans need to prepare to stand up and help us put this so-called ‘Workplace Freedom’ and Right to Work issue to rest once and for all so we don’t suffer the same fate as workers in Michigan.”
Opponents of the right-to-work bills, sometimes called “Workplace Freedom,” have long believed that the initiative’s true purpose is to kill unions and worker protections, leading to a weaker middle class. Stripping workers of their rights and freedoms would allow business owners to lower work pay, reduce worker benefits and ignore worker rights.
One longtime union member, however, was shocked at the movement’s resurgence. “So many people thought the threat of Al-Qaeda was dead until the Boston bombings,” said the member. “That’s surprisingly similar to how I felt about ‘right-to-work’ before this mess.”
Although it has been less than two years since voters overwhelmingly rejected Senate Bill 5, the Republicans’ previous effort to limit collective bargaining for employees, State Reps. Ron Magg and Kristina Roegner were hoping to make Ohio the nation’s 25th right-to-work state.
“This means simply that employees would be free to choose whether or not to join a labor union,” said Maag in a letter seeking co-sponsors.
Ohioans, however, have heard all of this before. Although critics believe that “Workplace Freedom” advocates have been trying to play toward the misinformed by painting unions as heavy handed, stereotypical organizations from our past, there have been passionate efforts by local interest groups and citizens to get the real message out to the public.
What’s happening in Ohio reminds many of President Obama’s quote about lifetime AFL-CIO union member and former president, Ronald Reagan; “He could not get through a Republican primary today.”
Cuyahoga County executive and potential nominee for governor, Ed Fitzgerald, recently told The Columbus Dispatch, “I strongly oppose this deceitful, misleading, so-called right-to-work agenda that will hurt every community in Ohio.”
Although the current round of legislation has been stopped, Ohioans are urged to let their voices be heard as soon as possible in order to stop future right-to-work legislation in its tracks.
“It’s important for all of us to get the message out there,” said Stacey Chamberlain, a longtime union member in Toledo. “Contact your representative, tell your neighbors, do whatever you can to help us ensure our middle class is protected.”
For more information on the “Workplace Freedom” movement, please visit the website, www.protectohiosmiddleclass.org.Direct link: http://www.prnewschannel.com/2013/05/06/despite-reluctant-gop-surrender-unions-vow-to-fight-right-to-work-in-ohio/
SOURCE: Keep Ohio's Heritage
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