From Ohio House Press Conference Introducing Workplace Freedom legislation, left to right: John Becker, Kristina Roegner, Ron Maag, John Adams and Andrew Brenner
Ohio Representatives Ron Maag and Kristina Roegner are gathering support for Workplace Freedom legislation that would free both private sector and government workers from the chains of forced union dues. Their proposed legislation will give all workers in Ohio the freedom of choice in whether they pay union dues or fees just to have a job.
We are supportive of this legislation, welcome public debate on the issue and thank Representatives Maag and Roegner for their leadership on the most important economic issue facing Ohio today.
With that said – given John Kasich’s opposition to this issue, it’s an uphill battle for Workplace Freedom to become the law of the land in Ohio via the legislative path. This sentiment became clear on Wednesday when the Ohio Senate said they would not be moving the legislation forward at this time.
Even if this issue does not make it through the legislature, we hope it raises the profile of this vital issue for Ohio that both Indiana and Michigan made law in 2012.
Workplace Freedom is vital to Ohio’s future.
Please continue supporting our efforts to put Workplace Freedom directly before voters at the ballot by donating to our cause or signing up to gather signatures.
If you would like to learn more about Workplace Freedom in Ohio, click here for more information, or below you can read the recent Columbus Dispatch editorial by the attorney who drafted the Ohio Workplace Freedom Amendment, Maurice Thompson from the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law.
April 22, 2013 Editorial: Should Ohio voters support a right-to-work ballot issue? Yes – Forced support of unions is drag on economy
With the new additions of Michigan and Indiana, 24 states now protect their residents from having to pay forced union dues or fees to keep their jobs. Ohio should become the 25th.
Under current law, those in unionized workplaces must either join the union and pay union dues, or pay to the union a “fair share fee,” the amount of which is substantially the same as union dues.
One simple question that union leaders cannot answer: If your representation of workers is truly valuable, why do you need a law forcing Ohioans to buy it?
Fighting to maintain such a law amounts to an admission that what you have to offer simply isn’t that valuable to everyone. And the evidence demonstrates that this is correct: When workers are free to choose, far fewer choose what unions have to offer. In 2011, many of Wisconsin’s workers became free to choose whether to pay a union. Since then, according to recent U.S. Labor Department filings, one-third of those who were previously forced to pay a union at their workplace have chosen to break ties.
Unions, of course, should be free to demonstrate their value and garner support. But at the end of the day, unions are private entities, and their support must be voluntarily earned.
Equally important, forced unionization deprives Ohio workers of meaningful economic opportunities.
Ohio University economist Richard Vedder estimates that Ohioans’ household income would be $12,000 higher today had Ohio adopted a right-to-work law in 1977. Over the past 20 years alone, incomes of residents in right-to-work states grew 142 percent more than incomes of Ohioans.
Meanwhile, since 1990, job growth in right-to-work states is almost six times higher than in Ohio. And in the past five years, nearly 75 percent of jobs created in our nation have been in these states, even though 65 million fewer people live in them, compared to forced union states.
In short, because freedom to choose increases workplace flexibility, and it attracts employers, creates more jobs and raises wages.
A healthier economy would allow more young workers to pursue their careers in Ohio. Who among us doesn’t know Ohio parents whose children have left the state in search of meaningful work?
Union leaders seem satisfied to proclaim that “right to work” is “right to work for less.” One problem with this bumper-sticker slogan: It’s untrue.
They claimed the same in Oklahoma and Idaho when each embraced workplace freedom. Each time, they were mistaken. And while wages are indeed lower in some Southern right-to-work states, this is only because those economies were once light-years behind Ohio (wages in Northern union states were 78 percent higher in 1960). This gap is quickly closing.
Want Ohioans’ wages to eventually be lower than those in Southern states? Here’s the roadmap: retain forced unionization, and thereby continue to put local employers out of business and dissuade new businesses from investing in Ohio.
Unions also frequently argue that workplace freedom creates “free-riders,” receiving the “ benefits” of union-negotiated agreements without incurring the costs of funding those negotiations. However, unions are not required to represent all employees in a workplace unless they insist — through their lobbying, workplace electioneering and bargaining agreements — on maintaining “ exclusive representation.”
Unions create this “free-rider” problem, by insisting on attempting to represent everyone, the willing and the unwilling. You can’t make this power grab while simultaneously attacking its consequences.
It’s time to set Ohioans free from forced union dues. Unions have nothing to fear, so long as they offer Ohio workers a service worth voluntarily purchasing.
My organization protects the constitutional rights of all Ohioans. But we don’t then advocate for a law forcing all Ohioans to donate to us.
Unions, we challenge you to do the same.
After all, it was the founder of what is now the AFL-CIO, Samuel Gompers, who affirmed, “ Americans must have the right, but not be compelled, to join labor unions.”
It’s time to transform this principle, freedom of choice, into policy for all Ohioans.