Five years ago, a tractor trailer carrying 1.3 million signatures on petitions for a referendum on Senate Bill 5 made its way through downtown Columbus, Ohio, to the Ohio Statehouse. Officials at the Statehouse were not sure that the lobby of the building could structurally support the weight of the petitions, adding to the sense of the momentousness of the event.
It was fairly clear that the legislation limiting the collective-bargaining rights of most public employees in Ohio—and completely eliminating the collective-bargaining rights of faculty at Ohio’s public colleges and universities—was in deep trouble.
As if to mark that anniversary, Representative John Becker has introduced a “right to work” bill for Ohio’s public employees.
What follows is the press release sent out by Becker’s office.
Note that the bill includes provisions that will allocate tax dollars to the development and dissemination of “educational pamphlets and brochures” promoting this clearly very partisan legislation.
COLUMBUS—Representative John Becker (R-Union Township) today introduced House Bill 583, which provides public sector workers the choice to opt out of union representation and dues, legislation that is commonly referred to as “Right to Work.”
In turn, House Bill 583 also allows non-union employees to voluntarily make financial contributions to a union, providing the workers’ unions with an added revenue source. Furthermore, the legislation provides protections for the unions, freeing them from the responsibility of representing non-union employees.
“’House Bill 583 guarantees not only a public sector employee’s right to freedom of association, it also includes a unique provision that protects unions from representing employees who choose to opt out,’ says Becker. ‘It’s a win-win for both sides. Although some unions might lose a few current members, they will be stronger because those who remain will be the ones who are committed to their cause.’
Currently, 26 states have Right to Work laws in place, including the majority of Ohio’s neighboring states: Michigan, Indiana, and West Virginia.
House Bill 583 also includes funding to create educational pamphlets and brochures to educate both employees and employers on the benefits afforded to them through the legislation.
The Right to Work legislation now awaits referral to an Ohio House committee for further consideration.