Will Ohio become a “Right-to-Work” state?

A poll released by Quinnipiac University on Tuesday shows 54% of Ohioans would support “Right-to-Work” laws for our state (see article from Enquirer here).

“Right-to-Work” are state laws that ban unions from requiring employees of union shops to join or pay dues to the union.  While  non-union employees would still be covered by any collective bargaining agreement, these employees give up their rights to vote on union issues, and the union has no say over them in discipline and “members-only” benefits (although it remains obligated to represent them).

Those against “Right-to-Work” argue that the laws are designed to cripple the unions financially, which leads to lower wages.  They also argue that Right-to-Work suppresses union membership, which especially harms women and minorities.  They state higher union wages increase productivity and improve state economy, improve workers’ physical security, and ensure more spending on education.

Others argue precisely the opposite:  that “Right-to-Work” laws create jobs and spur economic activity, as well as being morally right by not forcing workers to pay for a cause they don’t believe in.

Proponents for “Right-to-Work” often quote Thomas Jefferson, “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical.”  Opponents use Martin Luther King’s statement, “In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as `right to work.’ It provides no `rights’ and no `works.’ Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining.”  (Quoted by John W. Cooper)

Are both these men correct?  Or are both off the mark?  Our world has changed a great deal since either of them made their statements.  What are your thoughts about what’s right for Ohio today?


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