February 06, 2012
On February 1, the one-year anniversary of the introduction of Ohio Senate Bill 5, two major events occurred: the State of Indiana enacted a right-to-work law; and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine certified petition language that will allow Tea Party extremists to gather signatures to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would make Ohio a right-to-work state.
The coalition behind the Ohio ballot measure includes Chris Littleton of the Ohio Liberty Council; Maurice Thompson of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law; and Bryan Williams of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Ohio.
The next step for this coalition to achieve ballot status is to go to the Ohio Ballot Board to ensure it is not violating the “single-subject” rule. Once it passes that hurdle, the group can begin the process of collecting the necessary signatures.
The signature thresholds for a constitutional amendment are higher than that of a legislative repeal effort. The coalition will have to gather 10 percent of voter signatures from the last gubernatorial election, with five percent coming from 44 of the 88 Ohio counties.
If the coalition successfully submits the requisite number of valid signatures by July 4 (125 days before the general election), the amendment will appear on this November’s ballot. If the signatures are submitted later, the amendment will not be on the ballot until 2013.
It is widely believed that the Ohio Republican Party does not want this initiative on the November ballot, fearing that it will draw out labor to the polls and hurt the Republican Presidential nominee’s chances of winning Ohio, a key battleground state in the race to the White House. However, the coalition sponsoring the initiative is not working with, or responsive to, the Republican Party.
Why is right-to-work often called right-to-work-for-less and right-to-freeload?
Despite the name, right-to-work does not guarantee any rights. In fact, by weakening unions and collective bargaining, it destroys the best job security protection that exists: the union contract. Meanwhile, it allows workers to pay nothing while receiving all of the benefits of union membership.
Right-to-work laws say unions must represent all eligible employees, whether they pay dues or not. This forces unions to use their time and members’ dues money to provide union benefits to free riders who are not willing to pay their fair share.
The average worker in a right-to-work state makes about $5,333 a year less than workers in other states ($35,500 compared with $30,167). Weekly wages are $72 greater in free-bargaining states than in right-to-work states ($621 versus $549). Working families in states without right-to-work laws have higher wages and benefit from healthier tax bases that improve their quality of life.
Proponents of right-to-work claim that it fosters an environment conducive to job creation; yet, as of December 2011, six of the 10 states with the highest unemployment rates were right-to-work states.
Instead, we find that right-to-work states have lower wages for workers, higher poverty and infant mortality rates, less access to healthcare, and poorer education systems. Consequently, making Ohio a right-to-work-for-less state would have far-reaching implications, and is not simply a “union issue.”
The Ohio Conference AAUP will continue to update you on this issue as it unfolds.
Register Now for the
Ohio Conference Annual Meeting!
The Ohio Conference AAUP will host its Annual Meeting on Friday, April 13 and Saturday, April 14 at the Columbus Marriott Northwest. Please note that this is a different location from previous years.
The Annual Meeting is a unique opportunity for Ohio AAUP members to gather, share information, and determine the direction and policies of the organization.
This year’s meeting will feature AAUP member and Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, as well as a workshop on how AAUP Chapters can legally be involved in the 2012 elections.
The agenda, registration form, and hotel information can be found on our website at www.ocaaup.org/annualmeeting.
The registration deadline is April 2, and hotel reservations must be made by March 23 in order to receive the block room rate.
Mark your calendars and register today!