Daily Court Reporter - News Proposed right-to-work legislation aimed at Ohio's public sector workers
Proposed right-to-work legislation aimed at Ohio's public sector workers
KEITH ARNOLD, Daily Reporter Staff Writer
A Cincinnati-area lawmaker wants to eliminate the requirement that public employees must join or pay dues to any employee organization.
Rep. John Becker, R-Union Township, introduced to the Ohio House of Representatives this week House Bill 53, which would provide public sector workers the freedom to opt out of union representation and dues, legislation that is commonly referred to as "right to work."
Language added to Section 124.14 of state law recognizes an employee who is a member of the bargaining unit but elects not to be a member of the exclusive representative selected by the employees within the bargaining unit is exempt from state employment relations board bargaining unit requirements, pursuant to section 4117.06 of the Revised Code.
In addition to prohibiting public employers from requiring public employees to join or pay dues to any employee organization, HB 53 would prohibit an employee organization from being required to represent public employees who are not members of the employee organization.
The measure, however, allows non-union employees to voluntarily make financial contributions to a union, if they should choose to do so.
Becker said the provision gives union's an added revenue source, presumably to lessen any negative impact of required membership and dues.
"HB 53 guarantees a public sector employee's right to freedom of association, lifting the mandate requiring that they must subsidize unions or be fired, " Becker said upon introduction of the measure. "Under this bill unions are protected from representing employees who choose to opt out, allowing them to become stronger because those who remain will be the ones who are committed to their cause."
With the exception of Pennsylvania, all states neighboring Ohio are right to work. Another two dozen states have enacted such legislation.
"The question is no longer if Ohio joins the chorus of Right to Work states, but when," Becker noted.
The bill also proposes an appropriation of $30,000 to fund creation of educational pamphlets and brochures to educate both employees and employers on the benefits afforded to them through the legislation.
"Pamphlets and brochures, shall be used by the state Employment Relations Board to pay the costs of developing, producing, and distributing pamphlets, brochures, electronic mail, or other literature explaining a public employee's rights and options under Chapter 4117 of the Revised Code," the bill outlined.
The board would provide the items, at no cost, to public employees and public employers upon request, the bill further stipulated.
Any unexpended and unencumbered portion of the appropriation, of the current fiscal year would be reappropriated for the same purpose in the next fiscal year.
A dozen of Becker's fellow House members signed as a cosponsors of the measure, which awaits committee referral.
Date Published: February 23, 2017