On Wednesday, the Mansfield City Council unanimously voted to condemn House Bill 53, the Ohio House’s latest Right to Work legislation. The council members hope the vote sends a message to Columbus.
“Collective bargaining got us 40-hour workweeks, health insurance, holidays off with pay,” said fourth-ward councilman Butch Jefferson. “When we weaken that kind of negotiation…we’re really hurting ourselves.”
Following the vote, state labor leaders had nothing but praise for the city council.
“The Mansfield City Council stood up for what is right and hopefully sent a message to the state legislature,” says Richard Dalton, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 18 in Ohio. “House Bill 53, as all Right to Work initiatives are, is just another opportunity to weaken workers in Ohio. The more votes like we had in Mansfield, the better.”
Introduced last month by Rep. John Becker (R-Union Township), House Bill 53 is the latest GOP attempt to enact Right to Work in Ohio. Since the announcement workers across the state have begun to speak out against the bill.
Last week, dozens of workers held a rally in Middletown to discuss “anti-worker threats” on the local, state and national levels. At the rally, Middletown Vice Mayor Dora Bronston shot down the notion that Right to Work was meant to help workers.
“How can it help us if we can’t pay our bills, if we can’t put food on our tables?” said Bronston. “It reduces our buying power and to me, Right to Work is wrong. It hurts our local businesses.”
Echoing the beliefs of many prominent labor leaders in the state, Bronston’s comments highlight the dangers the state’s middle class face should Right to Work be enacted.
Opponents of Ohio’s Right to Work efforts have long maintained that the initiative’s true purpose is to kill unions and worker protections, ultimately leading to a weaker middle class.
“Right to Work legislation has always been wrong for Ohio,” says Dalton. “We plan to do everything in our power to make sure workers’ voices are heard and their best interests are kept in mind.”
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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