Ohio unions eye Michigan's move - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Ohio unions eye Michigan's move

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Michigan Republican Governor, Rick Snyder late Tuesday afternoon, signed into law a contentious right-to-work plan limiting the power of unions.
    
The GOP-controlled House passed two bills Tuesday that were previously approved by the Senate. One dealt with public-sector workers and another focused on the private sector. Both chambers had approved a version of the private sector bill last week.

Now the question is:  Will Ohio be next?

Local union leaders are concerned about that.

Ohio's battle over unions and collective bargaining rights ended with voters rejecting Issue Two back in 2011.

So now, Michigan's Right to Work movement has Ohio unions keeping a sharp eye.

Dan Desmond, is the Vice President of the public Firefighter's union Local 92 in Toledo.  He told 13abc reporter Bill Hormann that Michigan lawmakers ramrodded the bill through the chamber.  "It was bullied through the Lansing legislature in seven-days without any public hearings at all," he said.

By attaching the legislation to an appropriations bill, Michigan lawmakers have prevented voters from repealing this law.   Ohio unions worry Michigan's anti-union fever could now spread.  

George Tucker is the executive secretary with the Greater Northwest Ohio AFL-CIO.  He says,
"The only thing between the middle class and poverty right now is unions because we bring up the stand of living."

There is a move toward Right to Work in Ohio.  A petition is being circulated to amend the state's constitution to give Ohioans the freedom to choose whether to take a job and not be compelled to join a union or pay union dues.

Supporters argue Right to Work laws attract businesses and create jobs.

A federal study found, from 1991 to 2011, Right to Work states created far more jobs than Ohio and Michigan.  North Dakota job creation jumped 49-percent over the last 20 years.  Nebraska saw job increases of nearly 28-percent, West Virginia's was 21-percent, Indiana's saw job creation increases above 13-percent.  Meanwhile, over the last 20 years, Ohio's job creation increase was about 6-percent; Michigan's less than 2-percent. 

Critics claim those are low-pay, no benefit jobs and that unaligned workers in union shops get what's called a *free ride.*

Joseph Slater, a professor of law at the University of Toledo told 13abc, "In a Right to Work state, the union would have to represent the (non union) workers whether or not the person paid dues"

All unions only exist because, at some point, workers voted to form a union.  And the concern is without unions, businesses could tear up the contracts with union negotiated wages and benefits.

Unions have lost the Right to Work fight in Michigan but their strong opposition has made its point.

In Wisconsin and Ohio, where Scott Walker and John Kasich are up for re-election in 2014, both governor's say they have no plans to put *Right to Work* on their agendas.

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