24 November 2014

On May 1 (May Day) this past week, extremist, right wing Republicans introduces 3 versions of the anti-labor, so-called “Right-to Work” legislation, one bill directed at private industry, another at public workers and a third piece that would immediately place that legislation on the ballot for referendum. The so-called “Right-to-Work” legislation is now being pushed by right wing, pro-corporate legislators nationally in order to break the power of unions, which only now represent 9% of workers in private industry nationally. RTW would bar unions from collected dues from all represented workers, while still requiring unions to represent all workers. It would reverse previous union elections won by unions in which the entire unit had elected to be represented by unions.

The Ohio AFL-CIO immediately swung into action on the first, with a huge lobbying effort, involving hundreds of rank & File workers pouring into the capital, button-holing their reps, demanding ‘No’ votes from them. A quickly called militant rally against the bills sprung up by noon at the capital, with hundreds of union workers and supporters chanting “NO on Right to Work, YES on worker’s rights!” By the end of works, hundreds more workers were marching around the capital, as part of this year’s May Day mobilization. They also demanded an end to attacks on workers. He labor federation announced that that they, with the massive ‘We Are Ohio’ alliance, which led the overwhelming defeat of SB 5, the GOP’s attempt to disenfranchise public union workers in our state this past year, had set up dozens of meeting across Ohio to mobilize workers, families and supporters against so-called RTW legislation.

Addressing the angry crowd, Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga stated; “Those backing so-called RTW say its about individual freedom, but passing legislation that gives more power to corporations to ship our jobs overseas, takes away protections for whistle-blowers, reduces pay, benefits & retiree security from all doesn’t sound like ‘freedom’ for workers. This is nothing but a corporate power grab that will hurt not only workers, but entire communities and hurt our fragile economy. This is just SB 5 recycled, and Ohioans overwhelmingly said ‘NO’ to that last year!”

However, Gov. Kasich and leading GOP forces in at the statehouse moved rapidly to kill all three RTW pieces, “for now,” Rep. Maag (R-Lebanon) announced on 5/3/13. Clearly they are showing that they want no part of another huge fight for worker’s right in Ohio, at least this year. It is generally felt, by Ohio union activists, however, that the Republican majority is only postponing this battle until next year’s ‘lame-duck session,’ when it will be re-introduced.

The coalition mobilization meeting will all go forward, the AFL-CIO. The COLUMBUS MEETING WILL BE FRIDAY, 5/16/13, AT 5:30 PM, AT THE CARPENTER’S UNION HALL, 1545 ALUM CREEK DR. All supporters of worker’s rights & justice, whether union members or not, are urged to attend. Dinner will be served (no charge). “We cannot afford to set back & wait,” said Don Coulter, USW—SOAR Pres., Columbus, “they are planning to attack all of us again & we have to get ready!”