Of all the states in the so-called “Rust Belt,” all but Ohio, Illinois and Missouri have fallen to Right to Work. However, that could soon change if Republicans and labor opponents have their way.
In Ohio, state Republicans unveiled their latest attempt at legislation just before the new year. The six constitutional amendments, which require voter approval, would fully implement private and public-sector Right to Work, eliminate the prevailing wage and required union dues, ban projected labor agreements and require union recertification.
Missouri, on the other hand, has stared down Right to Work since state Republicans made the legislation a priority after winning the governor’s office.
Luckily for workers, union leaders in the state quickly gathered roughly three times the number of signatures needed to enact a referendum petition which stalled Right to Work’s implantation just 10 days before it was set to go into effect. The bill is now on track to be decided by voters later this year.
With Right to Work advocates seemingly pushing full steam ahead, labor leaders throughout the region are fighting back twice as hard.
“We have been and will continue to do everything in our power to stop this damaging legislation from harming our workers and our economy,” said Richard Dalton, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 18 in Ohio. “It’s vital that voters everywhere understand how dangerous Right to Work can be and how important it is to stop it in its tracks.”
Right to Work is a series of laws which ultimately hurt, and even destroy, crucial union powers. Workers can forego becoming a union member and paying dues while unions are required to provide them regular benefits and services regardless of their membership status.
Advocates for Right to Work argue that money spent on bargaining can then be invested back into the company by employers. However, studies have shown this rarely works as planned. Money typically stays at the top and, without union representation, wages sink, industries growth slows and overall employee welfare hits rock bottom.
“The evidence is slim that it helps,” said Roland Zullo, a labor relations professor at the University of Michigan, in the Washington Post. “It’s being sold as a way to improve the economy, but the real agenda is to undermine the power of labor unions.”
Echoing that sentiment, Dalton and other labor leaders are determined to keep Right to Work out of their backyards.
“The Midwest is home to some of America’s most important industries,” said Dalton. “There’s a lot more at stake than the well-being of our home states. Voter presence is a necessity for 2018.”
For more information on Right to Work in Ohio, visit: http://protectohiosmiddleclass.org
SOURCE: Keep Ohio's Heritage
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