Right to work fight headed to Ohio - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Right to work fight headed to Ohio

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Many unions in Toledo require you to join, if you want a job, and membership means paying union dues.

"Every worker should have the right to choose whether they join a union and pay dues or not." (see complete video)

But there's a movement to give workers more choice.

A group called Ohioans for Workplace Freedom is gathering signatures to get a *Right to Work* amendment on the ballot.

Supporters of the Right to Work movement say theirs is not a measure to bust unions.  They insist that unions can still form and that workers can still join unions.  They just want to give workers the choice, especially when it comes to paying union dues.

"Right to Work wants unions gone."

Union leaders like George Tucker with the AFL-CIO see this as another sucker punch, like Issue Two, where unions are under attack because the effectively negotiate strong labor contracts.

Tucker told 13abc reporter Bill Hormann, "Intentions of these bills are to kill the unions or make them so weak that they're just there but they're not really providing the service for the employees.  And that would be worse than anything."

Toledo city council will consider a resolution opposing right to work.

Mayoral candidate Joe McNamara (D) worries freeloaders will refuse to pay dues yet expect all the benefits of union membership.

He says the Right to Work idea, "Weakens the power of organized labor to negotiate for its workers and that hurts everyone."

But when you've been unemployed for a year, like Aaron Cunningham, the focus isn't on a political fight but on something far more basic.

"Just a job.  I think that's how everybody is right now," he says.

Right to Work supporters say 72-percent of job growth happens in Right to Work states and that nine of the top ten states rated best in which to do business are Right to Work states.

But opponents like We Are Ohio say wages are lower in those states and there are more workplace accidents in Right to Work states.

Recently, neighboring states like Michigan and Indiana adopted a Right to Work philosophy and Pennsylvania is looking at the issue.   Some feel Ohio needs to remain competitive and look at Right to Work, as well.

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