Editorial on Right to Work

Sharing from our allies at We Are Ohio is this editorial against RTW in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

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Right-to-work would be an unnecessary and divisive fight in Ohio: editorial

Republican Gov. John Kasich said last week that so-called right-to-work legislation, which weakens labor unions, isn’t on his agenda<http://cleveland.cbslocal.com/2014/01/30/ohio-governor-says-right-to-work-isnt-on-agenda/>.

That’s not the same as saying Kasich would fight or veto it.

The divisive measure should not be enacted. Putting aside the likely partisan explosion, Ohio’s voters signaled as recently as 2011 that they do not favor such measures.

Democrats fret over a “December surprise” — the possible passage by a lame-duck, GOP-dominated legislature, after this November’s statewide election, of a right-to-work measure. That’s what happened in Michigan<http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/michigan-enacts-right-to-work-law-dealing-blow-to-unions/2012/12/11/bb9f8e5a-43ad-11e2-9648-a2c323a991d6_story.html> 1 ½ years ago.

Two Republican right-to-work bills are pending in the Ohio General Assembly – House Bill 151, sponsored by Rep. Kristina Roegner of Hudson, and House Bill 152, sponsored by Rep. Ron Maag of Lebanon.

Right-to-work laws forbid unions from charging “fair-share fees” to nonunion members for representing them at unionized workplaces. That is, right-to-work laws aim to weaken unions.

Ohioans have twice rejected right-to-work. A 1958 ballot initiative drew “yes” votes from just 37 percent of those voting. And in a 2011 referendum, Ohioans vetoed Senate Bill 5 with a 62 percent vote against the bill, which, among other things, would have imposed right-to-work on public employee unions in Ohio.

In Ohio, the 2011 defeat of Senate Bill 5 signaled labor’s strength. In Michigan, the voters’ defeat in 2012 of pro-union Proposal 12-2 signaled labor’s weakness.
Proposal 12-2, to protect the right of Michigan’s private and public employees to unionize, drew “yeses” from only 43 percent of those voting on it. Thirty-five days later, the state’s GOP-run legislature passed, and Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed, Michigan Senate Bill 116, decreeing right-to-work for private sector employment in that state, and Michigan House Bill 4003, decreeing the same for public sector employment.

Still, whether in Columbus or Lansing, state legislators, despite their histrionics, are risk-averse. If labor helps Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald mount a strong challenge to Kasich’s re-election, then, even if Kasich wins, all but the GOP’s True Believers likely would forget right-to-work. But if Kasich romps to a second term, the Statehouse’s Republican steamroller might trundle forward to pave the way for right-to-work in Ohio.