As Michigan marks one year anniversary of Right to Work, Ohio unions wary of oncoming hardships

Critics argue that nothing has changed since the law passed, but union supporters warn the storm hasn’t hit yet
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(PR NewsChannel) / December 16, 2013 / COLUMBUS, Ohio 

Workplace Freedom OhioIt’s been one year since Michigan rocked the union world and passed Right to Work and union supporters warn the true impact will not be realized for many, many months if not years.

“This wasn’t something that was going to go bad overnight,” said Pat Sink, IUOE Local 18’s business manager in neighboring Ohio, which is currently knee-deep in the Right to Work battle. “As labor deals expire and the economic climate changes, that’s when the true effects of Right to Work will be seen.”

With one year already in the books, both sides point out that the real effects of Right to Work have yet to show themselves. MLive reports that some conservative experts believe the results will not be measurable for upwards of 10 years.

Michigan labor unions are concerned, and are not shy in saying so. 

“We are deeply concerned that wages and benefits for all workers, not just union workers, could decline as they have in other RTW states,” said Karla Swift, president of Michigan AFL-CIO, in an MLive report.

With the Right to Work fight bubbling over in Ohio, labor unions here are doing what they can to trumpet their fervent opposition to Right to Work to prevent it from becoming law.

Michigan is an example of what is at stake in the Right-to-Work fight. Long perceived to be the hub of union country, the measure passed in 2012 and sent shockwaves through other union-strongholds, like Ohio. Sink and union supporters in Ohio want to ensure their state doesn’t fall victim to the same tactics.

“Despite the recent ‘calm before the storm,’ Michigan has always been the cautionary tale when it comes to Right to Work,” said Sink. “When the full affects are realized, this will not be business as usual. Workers will feel it. Families will feel it with smaller paychecks.”

Opponents of recent Right to Work bills, sometimes called “Workplace Freedom” in Ohio, contend that the initiative’s true purpose is to kill unions and worker protections, ultimately leading to a weaker middle class.

By stripping workers of their rights and freedoms, business owners would be free to lower worker pay, reduce worker benefits and ignore worker rights.

To keep voters well informed on the dangers of Right-to-Work, the IUOE Local 18 union-backed advocacy group Keep Ohio’s Heritage has been running ads on cable and network television designed to educate voters on the issue.

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SOURCE:  Keep Ohio's Heritage

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