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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

State Legislators Introduce Ohio's 'Right to Work' Bill: UPDATE

Posted By on Wed, May 1, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Ohio Statehouse in Columbus
  • Ohio Statehouse in Columbus
UPDATE: Ohio Senate President Keith Faber announced Wednesday night that this right-to-work business isn't going to get very far under his watch.

He noted that the bills, proposed by two House Republicans, would serve little purpose aside from galvanizing Democrat fundraising.

The trajectory of the two bills looks bleak, but their introductions to the Statehouse certainly offered ample opportunity for state pols to spit their opinions on the matter into public conversation and rekindle the flames of Ohio's oft-contentious relationship with unionized labor.

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It's May Day, and the Statehouse is coughing up the stirrings of a robust affront against Ohio's labor unions.

Two Republican legislators introduced two "right-to-work" bills this week. The main idea is to present a piece of legislation that would ban forced union membership dues and prohibit any mandatory membership at all.

As workers the world over are spending the day protesting unfair working conditions and promoting workers' rights, the Ohio Statehouse is beginning to eye another contentious debate over the future of public unions. The bills, dealing with both public and private unions, were introduced by State Reps. Ron Maag of Lebanon and Kristina Roegner of Hudson. Their attempts call to mind 2011's collective bargaining reform controversy. Ohio voters ultimately stamped out that law via referendum, but legislators in neighboring states soon began carving out a distinct path toward right-to-work policy. In all, 24 states now boast right-to-work laws.

Gov. John Kasich, whose political capital went up flames for a time following the Senate Bill 5 rout, is keeping his nose of this conversation for now. There are only 18 months until Election Day, after all.

“There have been 300 bills introduced so far this year,” Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols says. “We don’t weigh in on all of them, and it would be premature to do so on these."

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, who tossed his hat in the ring for Kasich's seat in 2014, has already joined Democrats in denouncing the right-to-work attempt as "deceitful, misleading.”

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