With the announcement that Ohio Governor John Kasich has entered the 2016 Presidential race, union groups around the country have yet another candidate intimately familiar with the Right to Work battle.
Polling at close to eight percent, Kasich joins a GOP field highlighted by representatives from states with very active Right to Work fights including advocates Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
While the GOP typically advocates for Right to Work legislation, which cripple the efforts of organized unions, Kasich has largely remained silent on the issue in recent months and has even shown a willingness to work with unions in Ohio.
“Governor Kasich has spent a considerable amount of time listening to what the citizens of Ohio have to say and their desire to keep unions strong,” says Richard Dalton, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 18. “We have worked diligently with the Governor’s office to ensure that the needs of the people of Ohio remain at the forefront. In this instance that need is a strong union presence in Ohio.”
Ohio is no stranger to the political spotlight as many political pundits deem it as one of the most significant swing states for both parties in the upcoming 2016 elections. While the issue in Ohio has remained favorable for unions recently, many union leaders are urging supporters to pay close attention to candidates and their messages in regards to workers’ interests.
“With so many prominent names in the field right now, it’s important to diligently research where each one stands on workers’ rights,” said Dalton. “We have several outspoken candidates already and we must remain at the ready in the event Right to Work becomes a major factor in this primary and election cycle.”
Kasich, who’s been the Governor of Ohio since 2011, had an early history of pushing for Right to Work legislation in Ohio. Recent comments, however, have shown an increased resolve regarding working alongside labor unions and led supporters like Dalton to believe that the Governor may have had a change of heart on the issue.
In a campaign stop in late May, Gov. Kasich reportedly told reporters that he doesn’t feel Ohio needs any Right to Work legislation and the state wasn’t currently dealing with any “disruptive labor situations.”
Surrounding states, namely Kentucky and Wisconsin, have not seen the legislative needle be as kind to their own labor movements. With candidates from these states expected to be major players in the GOP nomination process, Dalton urges supporters to remain united and attentive to the ever-changing political atmosphere.
“With an issue as important as this, it’s imperative that we do our due diligence as voters, not just on Walker and Paul, but on all candidates and ensure this legislation doesn’t become a national issue.”
Opponents of the recent Ohio Right to Work effort, including the “Workplace Freedom” bills, contend that the initiative’s true purpose is to kill unions and worker protections, ultimately leading to a weaker middle class.
Whether they call it “Paycheck Protection,” “Workplace Freedom” or Right to Work, opponents of the efforts remain dedicated to ensuring the voting public knows the truth about the GOP’s divisive agenda.
For more information on Right to Work in Ohio, visit: http://protectohiosmiddleclass.org/
SOURCE: Keep Ohio's Heritage
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