Issues > Ohio Legislature: Workers’ and Unions’ Issues
Ohio Bill that seeks to prohibit Ohio cities the use of geographically-based hiring (local hiring) preferences
5.03.16 - This morning, members of the Ohio House State Government Committee approved Senate Bill 152, a bill that seeks to prohibit Ohio cities the use of geographically-based hiring (local hiring) preferences when completing local construction projects. Before passing the bill out of committee, extreme Republicans decided to amend the bill to include additional anti-labor, anti-worker provisions. This amendment would ban the use of Project Labor Agreements when State dollars are used on a construction project. Project Labor Agreements (PLA’s) are pre-hire collective bargaining agreements with one or more organizations that establish the terms and conditions of employment for a specific construction project.
Senate Bill 152 is a misguided attempt to block the leveraging of federal, state, and local construction dollars to improve Ohio’s workforce, rebuild our communities, and strengthen Ohio’s economy. The use of local workers and PLA’s on local construction projects is the best way to keep construction jobs running smoothly, promote efficiencies for taxpayers, build a stronger, more robust local tax base, and nurture the development of a skilled workforce. This belief has been proven over and over again with projects being completed on time, on or under budget, all while providing on-the-job training that will benefit young workers for their entire careers.
The use of Local hiring quotas and PLA’s really focus on creating a positive community impact as well as promoting their on-time, on-budget completion. These tools are used to address the specific needs of the project AND the community, including provisions that address minority and at-risk targeted training programs, the use of small businesses, apprenticeship ratios, scheduling, work rules, safety, cost-containment, management rights and specialized procedures. They also enable community groups, schools, local governments and other groups to partner with local unions to connect people from low and middle-income communities with extraordinary training while creating a path to the middle class through a career in the construction trades.
Thank you for everything that you do for the working people of Ohio.
Right-To-Work...raises its head - again - Thanks to GOP State House Reps
“In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights.
Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone…Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights. We do not intend to let them do this to us. We demand this fraud be stopped.
Our weapon is our vote.”
—Martin Luther King, speaking about right-to-work laws in 1961
12.01.15 - Tell the GOP in Columbus to stop wasting time and start working on supporting the people of Ohio who have decent wages, safe working conditions and benefits thanks to UNIONS.
RIGHT TO WORK IS WRONG
GOP State House Reps push for legislation...again
11.25.15 - While we are looking forward to spending time with our loved ones this Thanksgiving week, Republicans in the Ohio House of Representatives announced yesterday they will hold a hearing next Tuesday, Dec. 1 on Right To Work is Wrong (House Bill 377).
They thought they would catch us off guard, but sisters and brothers, they are dead wrong. We have spent the last two weeks fighting off the extreme attacks on unemployment benefits for working people (House Bill 374), and we will make sure they know next week they cannot slip HB 377, Right To Work Is Wrong, under the radar.
If you can join us next Tuesday at 2:00 PM at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, please RSVP to Matt Smith, Ohio AFL-CIO Legislative Director.
The best way to show Representative Tom Brinkman and the other extreme GOP members that co-sponsored this attack on workers that his Right To Work bill is wrong for Ohio is to fill the room with the people who get up and go to work every day to make this state a great place to live, work and raise a family.
If you can join us next Tuesday at 2:00 PM at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, please RSVP to Matt Smith, Ohio AFL-CIO Legislative Director.
We understand many of you cannot be with us on Tuesday, but please continue to check your email for updates on Right To Work is Wrong, the assault on unemployment benefits for working people, and other attacks on Ohio's working families by extremists in the state legislature. You can also text OHAFLCIO to 94502 to receive our text updates.
I want to say Thank You this Thanksgiving to everyone who continues the fight for the working people of this great state and know that your State Federation is working hard to keep you informed and fighting back on any attacks to the working families of Ohio.
Tim Burga, President
Text of Proposed Constitutional Amendment, to be Section 22, Article I, of the Ohio Constitution
To read entire proposed text, visit here.
Movement targets unions in Ohio, 2 other states
David A. Lieb | Associated Press
Is a stealth Right to Work effort brewing in Columbus?
Thomas Suddes | Northeast Media Group
11.17.13 - If you like “slippery,” forget Teflon: The Republican-run Ohio General Assembly’s troupe of jugglers and clowns has cornered the market.
That’s why fretting about whether this General Assembly will spring so-called Right to Work (for Less) on Ohioans isn’t a symptom of paranoia. Instead, it may be common-sense caution.
So take coal shovels of salt with Republicans' claims that Right to Work is the last thing on their minds. Right to Work may not be in this year’s GOP letters to Santa. But only amateurs telegraph their punches.
Consider Statehouse shell games. Senate and House Republicans stand foursquare behind one constitutional right -- to keep and bear arms. But as for the constitutional right of women to obtain abortions, that’s different.
Likewise, Ohio’s House led the way in clamping down on so-called Internet cafes. But the House, recently offered a chance to tighten those clamps, well … hmm … House Republicans need to get back to you. (Don’t wait by the phone.)
House Speaker William Batchelder, a conservative Medina Republican, could teach Machiavelli a thing or two. As a shrewd Statehouse bystander recently said, Batchelder goes down one rabbit hole. Then he comes up from another. Batchelder all but vowed to bring Medicaid expansion, a key goal of Republican Gov. John Kasich, to an Ohio House vote. But Batchelder never did. Upshot: Ohio is expanding Medicaid anyway. And Batchelder, in effect, just shrugged.
Do the math. Kasich got what he wanted. Seething hard-right-wingers in Batchelder’s caucus did not get what they wanted -- a nasty House floor debate to bash expansion (and by extension, Kasich). Mission accomplished, Batchelder keeps smiling his way through the Statehouse, convincing people who should know better that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Lesson: Watch what happens, not what’s said.
In May, two members of Batchelder’s caucus, Reps. Kristina Roegner of Hudson and Ron Maag of Lebanon, introduced a package of Right to Work (for Less)legislation. House Bill 151 would impose Right to Work on private-sector jobs. House Bill 152 would impose Right to Work on public-sector jobs. And they’re also sponsoring a Right to Work amendment to the Ohio Constitution, House Joint Resolution 5.
Meanwhile, an outfit named Ohioans for Workplace Freedom wants voters to sign petitions to place House Joint Resolution 5 directly on Ohio’s ballot. (Claiming Right to Work is about workplace freedom is like calling a slave owner a job creator.)
Fifty-five years ago, in 1958, Ohioans stomped on a Right to Work ballot issue like ants at a picnic. It was a rout: 63 percent “no” to 37 percent “yes.” The 1958 ballot issue only carried 16 (of 88) counties, none big.
But that was then. Today, manufacturing, a stronghold of union clout in the ‘50s, has declined, thanks largely to one-sided “free trade” deals both parties sign. And some of 1958’s pro-Right to Work counties, then thinly populated, bustle today. Examples: Central Ohio’s Delaware; Madison (London); Pickaway (Circleville); and Union (Marysville). (Greater Cleveland’s only Right to Work county was Wayne.) Finally, an Ohio Right to Work battle would draw oceans of out-of-state money.
Of course, the only workplace freedom that Right to Work cheerleaders want is bosses’ freedom, not workers’ freedom -- and the destruction of unions’ independent political power. Given the stakes, this fight, if it emerges in Ohio, has to be -- for both sides -- a must-win fight.
Thomas Jefferson, researchers say, wasn’t the first to say “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” But people familiar with Ohio’s Statehouse know it well. Now, more than ever, they also need to follow it.
Petitions seek 'right-to-work' vote in 2014
Alan Johnson | The Columbus Dispatch
10.15.13 - Supporters of a proposed “right-to-work” issue on Ohio’s 2014 statewide ballot said they have gathered 100,000 signatures and plan a big push next month for more names.
Ohioans for Workplace Freedom said it has about 200 people collecting signatures of Ohio registered voters who want to vote on the issue next year as a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment. To get it on the ballot, the group must collect 385,247 valid signatures by next year, along with a minimum amount from 44 of 88 counties. The group estimates it will have to submit more than 500,000 names, to account for invalid signatures that are discarded.
“Right-to-work” has been a flashpoint for union members in Ohio since 1958, when citizens rejected a statewide initiative.
The proposal, if approved, would not eliminate unions but would ban mandatory union membership and the practice of allowing unions to assess nonunion members for union dues, or an equivalent.
The proposed amendment says, “No law, rule, agreement or arrangement shall require any person or employer to become or remain a member of a labor organization.” Similarly, no one could be forced to pay dues or an assessment as part of a labor agreement. Anyone who is “directly or indirectly affected or threatened by harm” as a result of violation could file civil legal action and receive payment for damages and attorney fees.
Bruce Hull, a Greene County man who is coordinator of the petition drive, said in an email that this year’s Nov. 5 election is “the perfect opportunity to make huge progress on right-to-work Ohio. ... Done right, I believe we can obtain 100,000 signatures in one day.”
He said that will require having 10 to 15 people gathering signatures in each Ohio county on Election Day. The group has backing largely from tea party affiliates and other conservative organizations.
Some state lawmakers have tried to spark interest for right-to-work legislation in the General Assembly. Bills have been introduced by Rep. Kristina Roegner, R-Hudson, and Rep. Ron Maag, R-Lebanon, addressing the public sector. However, legislative leaders, also Republicans, have shown little interest.
Democrats and unions, including the Ohio AFL-CIO, are pushing back hard, slamming the proposal as worse than Senate Bill 5, the public-sector collective-bargaining law Ohio voters rolled back in 2011.
The full text of the proposed amendment is available here.
Indiana judge rules right-to-work unconstitutional
Daily Kos | zenbassoon
9.10.13 - A Lake County Judge John Sedia ruled the law unconstitutional last week because the state constitution calls for just compensation for services, according to an order. The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed in February 2013 on behalf of members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 AFL-CIO, who argued the law violated the constitution.
GOP ready to bring right-to-work bills back once Kasich is re-elected in 2014
9.10.13 - Governor Kasich and his allies want to pretend so-called “right to work” is not on their agenda. But Republican State Rep. Andrew Brenner has been leading the charge to push this anti-worker, anti-middle class agenda through the General Assembly anyway.
In a recent interview with the Delaware Gazette, Rep. Brenner said:
“I’m co-sponsor on three [right-to-work] bills…I don’t think any of them are going anywhere. We were told not to even bring them up, because next year is an election year for the governor. This may come up if he’s re-elected. If he’s not re-elected, it won’t come up because we won’t get it through (Democratic candidate) Ed FitzGerald.”
John Kasich is simply the man behind the curtain, trying to trick Ohio voters into believing that he has become a moderate all of a sudden.
But Rep. Brenner has exposed the truth: Gov. Kasich and his allies are just waiting for re-election to pick up their extremist, anti-middle class agenda—right where they left off with Senate Bill 5.
Republicans know that the rest of Ohio does not support their anti-worker agenda, and they won’t succeed if Ed FitzGerald is governor.
That’s how Chairman Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) of the House Manufacturing and Workforce Development Committee described a pair of right-to-work bills Tuesday after a packed hearing room applauded Democratic opposition to the legislation and Republicans members remained largely silent.
Reps. Kristine Roegner (R-Hudson) and Ron Maag (R-Lebanon) gave sponsor testimony on the one-month-old HJR5 (Roegner-Maag) and HB151 (Roegner), the latter drawing a long list of Republican co-sponsors including House Assistant Majority Whip Jim Buchy (R-Greenville), Assistant Majority Floor Leader John Adams (R-Sidney), Chairman Peter Beck (R-Mason) of the House Ways and Means Committee, Chairman Ron Young of the House Commerce, Labor and Technology Committee, and Chairman Peter Stautberg (R-Cincinnati) of the House Public Utilities Committee, among others.
Roegner summarized the “spirit” of HB151, a mere five and half pages. “The policy of this state is that each employee must be fully free to decide whether to associate, organize, designate a representative, or join or assist an employee organization,” she said, quoting the legislation. “Freedom resonates at the heart of this bill.”
The comment elicited chuckles from union members in the audience, which later turned to outright applause after a skeptical remark by a committee Democrat. The chairman would threaten to clear the room and asked Ranking Minority Member Roland Winburn (D-Dayton) to bear that in mind in his own comments.
Roegner said a study by the National Institute for Labor Relations Research (NILRR) shows non-farm employment grew 12.5 percent in right-to-work states between 2001 and 2011, compared to 3.5 percent in “forced unionism” states.
“Those opposed to right-to-work claim that wages in right-to-work states are lower,” she added. “However, the fact of the matter is that per capita disposable personal income (2011 cost-of-living-adjusted) for right-to-work states was over 7 percent higher than those workers in forced unionism states.”
She nevertheless called Ohio’s national 22nd ranking “mediocre at best” and noted 24 other states, including Michigan and Indiana, had already passed right-to-work legislation. In Ohio itself, Roegner noted, those surveyed supported right-to-work guarantees by a 65-32 percent margin in a recent Columbus Dispatch poll and 54-40 percent in a Quinnipiac poll taken three months after the fall 2011 ballot referendum that defeated public collective bargaining changes in 129-SB5 (Jones).
“We cannot ignore these polls. The people clearly believe in workplace freedom,” said Roegner.
Maag joined her for HJR5, which unlike HB151 would apply to public as well as private employee unions. “We are committed to a civil discussion between all interested parties and we encourage both proponents and opponents to have an open mind though these hearings,” he urged.
Other than the sponsors, Democrats did all of the talking. Several noted that Ohio law already allows union shop employees to opt of paying dues, with the proviso that they also waive bargaining rights.
Roegner countered that unions are likewise not required to represent non-members in an otherwise unionized setting -- a statement Rep. Tom Letson (D-Warren) refuted. “Unions are required to represent everyone in that union shop,” he said. “I'm glad you brought it up so that I can correct you on it.”
Roenger and Maag said as a practical matter, though, that union shops subject the entire workforce to the negotiating environment between labor and management. “A lot of people who don't belong to a union should be able to negotiate on their own,” said Maag, suggesting that should not represent a threat to labor organizations if what they say is true. “If unions are doing lots of wonderful things, why would people not want to be in them?”
Rep. Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) challenged Roegner’s claim around wages in right-to-work states, saying increases there likely have more to do with out-of-control executive compensation. She also pointed to Bureau of Labor Statistics findings that show the workforce death rate is 36 percent higher in right-to-work states. Rep. John Patterson (D-Novelty) expressed similar concerns for workplace safety.
Noting his long experience as a labor negotiator, Patterson said the point of unions is for workers to protect each other’s interests. “By allowing people to negotiate their own deal, favoritism creeps in.”
Rep. Kevin Boyce (R-Columbus) said while he believes referendums are a good idea, Ohio voters have already spoken on collective bargaining changes in response to SB5. Roegner responded that beyond the general topic of organized labor, “That's where the similarities end.” Maag had already noted the related topic of HB152 (Maag), which would focus right-to-work provisions specifically on public employees.
The sponsors clarified that they do not oppose unions as such, and while perhaps “not perfect,” the proposed legislation is a good start. “It will make unions stronger because it will make unions prove their value to get workers to join them,” said Roegner. “If you don't like HB151 or HB152, let's give it to the voters” added Maag.
Gov. John Kasich has said right-to-work measures aren’t his priority in recent months, having met with leaders of the House and Senate majority. After the hearing, Schuring said the legislation will have a short life in his committee.
“For a wide variety of reasons, members of the committee feel that further hearings would not be appropriate,” he said, otherwise declining to speak for members of his own party.
“I’ve been in this General Assembly for 20 years. I’m in a district with a strong union presence, and I’ve never had the executive of one company come to me and ask for this legislation,” said Schuring.
In separate comments after Tuesday’s House session, House Speaker William Batchelder (R-Medina) told reporters, “At this point in time, we’re observing the rules,” referring to the House rule that every bill gets at least one hearing.
Roegner also commented after the hearing, acknowledging work by others on a separate right-to-work ballot petition. “I would love to see this go before the voters.”
Story originally published in The Hannah Report on June 4, 2013
"Workplace Freedom" is a lie.
It means lower wages for everyone.
Don't Be Fooled
Protect Ohio's Middle Class
An irrational desire for union-busting drives some Ohio Republicans
By Thomas Suddes, The Plain Dealer
5.04.13 - No matter, evidently, that in 2011 Ohioans trounced a form of right-to-work, Senate Bill 5 (which also was a defeat for Republican Gov. John Kasich, who'd signed the bill).
Kasich would like to be re-elected next year. That'll be tougher if right-to-work chatter jogs the memories of the 61.6 percent of voters who killed SB 5, especially considering that Kasich won the governorship in 2010 with just 49.04 percent of the vote. Kasich hasn't joined the Roegner-Maag parade. And won't.
Within hours of Right to Work legislation submitted, Ohio Senate kills plan
- GOP legislators spell out three right-to-work options | The Columbus
- Ohio Senate tables proposed right-to-work bills | Toledo Blade
4.30.13 - Not unexpected, so called Right to Work legislation was submitted by two Kasich allies requesting co-sponsors:
- Right to Work - Public Sector - State Representative Maag (R)
- Right to Work - Private Sector - State Senator Kristina Roegner (R)
Right To Work intent is very misunderstood.
It is necessary that everyone knows what the consequences of this legislation will be.
It is just like Issue 2/SB5 - it will take away the rights of all Unions, not just public sector.
What is Right-to-Work?
These statutes are authorized by Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act and allow states to outlaw union shops which require all new employees to join the union after a minimum period after hire.
Right-to-Work laws are designed to financially cripple the union movement.
Federal law requires unions to represent nonmembers. For example, if a nonunion worker is fired illegally, the union must finance the expensive legal proceedings to defend him/her. Right-to-Work laws allow workers to enjoy a union's services without paying dues that cover the costs of union negotiations, contract administration and other union-provided job services.
Right-to-Work laws decrease wages for everyone.
Because workers' organizing rights are diminished in states with Right-to-Work laws, an average worker earns about $7.131 a year less than workers in free bargaining states ($30,656 versus $37,787). Across the nation, union members earn $9,308 a year more than nonunion members ($41,652 versus $32,344). Clearly, these laws only provide a right to work for less.
Right-to-Work laws especially harm people of color.
People of color generally benefit the most from union membership. On average, Hispanic union members earn 50% ($224) more each week than nonunion Hispanics; African-Americans earn 31% ($156) more each week if they are union members.
Right-to-Work states have more poverty, higher infant mortality rates and poorer schools.
Right-to-Work states have a poverty rate of 13.5%, compared with 12.2% in free bargaining states. The infant mortality rate is 7.94% higher and the uninsured population rate is 15% higher on average in Right-to-Work states. And Right-to-Work states spend on average $1,680 less per pupil in elementary and secondary schools. The lack of spending results in lower teacher salaries and student test scores - average teacher salaries are $6,943 lower and composite ACT scores are 3.55% lower in Right-to-Work states.
Right-to-Work laws endanger workers' physical security.
A union weakened by Right-to-Work laws has less power to act as a force for safer working conditions. More workplace deaths and injuries occur in states with Right-to-Work laws. According to calculations from Bureau of Labor statistics, the rate of workplace deaths is 41% higher in states with Right-to-Work laws. And injured workers in those states have fewer benefits to help them recover physically and financially. In 1996, workers compensation benefits were 50% lower in Right-to-Work states than in free bargaining states.
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said:
In our glorious fight for civil rights,
we must guard against being fooled by false slogans as 'right-to-work.'
It provides no 'rights' and no 'works.'
Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining....
We demand this fraud be stopped.
WHAT WILL 'RIGHT TO WORK' LAWS DO?
- Allows more government interference with freedoms of private businesses by restricting their right to negotiate with their employees.
- Takes away ability to negotiate fair contracts between employers and employees elected representatives.
- Takes away collective bargaining rights by employees elected representatives who bargain in the best interests on behalf of all employees.
- Gives politicians the final say and too much power on important issues - i.e. staffing, safety equipment, training.
- Allows employees who don't pay dues to receive same benefits as those employees who do pay dues.
- Tilts the balance even more toward big corporations by taking away the voices of every day workers - i.e. police, firefighters, teachers, nurses - to have a collective voice within their workplace.
Does this sound all too familiar?
'Right To Work' is Issue 2/SB 5 in disguise.
The attack on middle class workers and our families continues.
WHO IS BEHIND 'RIGHT TO WORK' LEGISLATION?
- ALEC - American Legislative Exchange Council -- a group that believes in limited government, free markets and federalism which equates to shipping jobs overseas to a country with the cheapest labor costs and the least (if any) environmental and worker protections.
- Corporate super PACs that have unlimited funds from anonymous donors - $44 million was spent by such PACs in Wisconsin over governor's recall.
- Wealthy special interests who give millions in campaign contributions - i.e. Koch Brothers, two billionaire brothers who have given millions to Wisconsin's Governor and other like-minded governors.
- Ohio Governor John Kasich who attacks Ohio's workers with legislation such as Issue 2/SB 5 and supports changes to workers compensation laws that will hurt injured and sick workers.
- Those supporting 'Right To Work' legislation are - once again - framing their argument in terms of "taxpayers versus unions" and talking about the "balance" between the two.
Just like Issue 2/SB 5, 'Right To Work' is another extreme policy
legislators are attempting to pass into law.
Don't be fooled by what three simple words say: 'Right To Work'.
You already have a right to work!
Don't make your right to work a right to work for less!
Click on articles below for more information on this issue:
Notre Dame Profs Dismantle Indiana Study Committee's “Report”
in favor of 'Right To Work'
University of Notre Dame, Professors Barbara Fick and Marty Wolfson
The compensation penalty of “right-to-work” laws
Economists Elise Gould and Heidi Shierholz
Issue 2/Senate Bill 5 - REPEALED! We'll remember EVERY November!
With a HISTORIC vote, the referendum on Issue 2/SB5 was resoundingly defeated statewide by a 61 percent to 39 percent margin!
Issue 2 was SOUNDLY defeated in Erie County because of YOU! The official final count in Erie County on Issue 2:
- NO - To reject/repeal SB5 - 17.905 votes - 66.24%
- YES - To retain/approve SB5 - 9.126 votes - 33.76%
The message to the Governor and the Republican legislature was loud and clear: Governor Kasich and the Republican legislature went too far -- Ohioans will not be bullied into accepting extreme legislation as public policy. By using our citizens' veto, Ohioans spoke with our own individual vote! THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!
THANK YOU for your time, commitment, support and hard work in defeating Issue 2/SB5 at the polls! This major victory could not have been accomplished without YOU!