Daily Court Reporter - News House legislators want Ohio electorate to make decision on right-to-work measures
House legislators want Ohio electorate to make decision on right-to-work measures
KEITH ARNOLD, Daily Reporter Staff Writer
A lawmaker duo in the Ohio House of Representatives believes everyday Ohioans should be the ones to decide whether to join the 28 right-to-work states that curtail certain union activities in both the public and private sectors.
Republican Reps. John Becker of Union Township and Craig Riedel of Defiance in recent weeks introduced a half dozen joint resolutions relating to labor union membership that would commence the ballot-initiative process and require the Ohio electorate to decide in the 2020 general election whether to amend the state constitution and enact right-to-work measures.
House Joint Resolutions 7 through 12 address everything from a private-sector employee's right to employment that is not conditional to joining a labor union to public-sector prevailing wage rules.
"Now that 28 states - and four out of five of Ohio's neighboring states - have enacted right-to-work laws, the nation's future is for all workers to have the right to work free of the burden of mandated union payments as a condition of employment," Becker said in a press release announcing introduction of the measures. "Ohio is being left behind."
Conditional to the General Assembly's passage of the joint resolutions, each of the following would be up for an individual vote:
HJR 7: Public-sector right-to-work - Becker and Riedel posited this legislation pertains to an individual's freedom of association. "Like for the private sector, no worker should be required to subsidize a union as a condition of employment," they said;
HJR 8: Private-sector right-to-work - "No worker should be required to subsidize a union as a condition of employment. Furthermore, this amendment will tell the world that Ohio is 'open for business,'" the pair noted;
HJR 9: Public-sector Prevailing Wage would repeal the requirement for taxpayers to pay what the lawmakers believe are artificially inflated wages, rather than those that are market-based;
HJR 10: Public-sector Project Labor Agreements is fashioned after the model approved by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which held state and local government entities are prohibited from minimizing competition for construction projects by requiring that only union or non-union labor can be considered;
HJR 11: Public-sector Union Recertification would require annual reconsideration and recertification of workers' bargaining units. The lawmakers believe this amendment would open up competition for new bargaining units, give workers a chance to have their voices heard, and make union leadership accountable to membership; and
HJR 12: Public-sector Paycheck Protection would prohibit state and local government employers from withholding union dues or fees from workers' wages. Additionally, unions would be prohibited from spending workers' money on political activities without workers' consent.
"I believe in individual freedom, and the right of a worker to be able to choose whether or not they want to belong to a union," Riedel said in the press release. "By bringing these right-to-work amendments forward as ballot issues, we are allowing the citizens of Ohio to have the final say."
"And it is time for the people to decide Ohio's future," Becker concluded.
Neither lawmaker offered immediate comment on the suggestion that their decision to leave these issues up to the voters who elected them into office may appear counter-intiuitive or politically expedient.
Rather, an email from Riedel's office said the lawmaker welcomed an opportunity for discussion of his previous remarks.
Nine fellow House members have signed onto one or more of the provisions, which await further committee referral.
Date Published: January 15, 2018