Conservative Lawmakers Renew Push To Make Ohio 'Right-To-Work' State

Jan 24, 2018

Two of the more conservative Republican lawmakers at the Statehouse want to put six different issues before voters that would make Ohio a so-called “right to work” state and eliminate prevailing wage.

Reps. John Becker, of Union Township in Clermont County, and Craig Riedel, of Defiance, say their bill would allow voters to decide whether Ohio should be a so-called "right-to-work" state for public and private sector employees and would put limits on unions to collect dues and spend money on political ads.

"Right-to-work" laws generally allow workers to refuse to join a union and pay union dues, even if they work in a unionized workplace. Riedel says Ohioans should decide this issue, once and for all.

“We want to bring this to the ballot in November of 2020 and allow the citizens of Ohio to vote on this,” Riedel said.

But Democratic Rep. Brigid Kelly, of Cincinnati, says Ohioans spoke loud and clear when they overwhelmingly rejected SB 5 in 2011. SB 5, which would restrict the right of state employees to collectively bargain and strike, was approved by Ohio's legislature and signed into law by Gov. Kasich. Just a few months later, over 61 percent of Ohio voters approved a referendum to repeal SB 5.

Kelly says these issues are more of the same.

“It would make Ohiomore poor, less safe and it would make our communities less strong,” Kelly said.

Lawmakers could put the issues on the ballot by passing them through the legislature but there’s no indication yet whether there will be enough support to make that happen.