|Unions Holding Ohio Back?|
In response to John Morris’s February 29 opinion piece I have to agree that unions are indeed holding Ohio back….and thank God they are! He mentioned that Ohio is tied with Illinois as being “unfair” to worker rights. The Illinois Economic Policy Institute, in a 2014 study, concluded that total labor income would fall by $1.3 billion, the state economy would shrink by $1.5 billion, state and local tax revenues would decrease $80 million and income inequality would increase if Right to Work became state law in Illinois.
Indeed, in study after study it is a plain fact that the average incomes of ALL workers declines over 3% as an average ($535 per month for the median household income), health insurance rates are 18% less, infant mortality rates are 15% higher, spending per pupal is $3,392 less (K-12) and workplace fatalities are 36% higher in Right to Work (RTW) states.
Mr. Morris is under the delusion that Right to Work is a big factor in companies choosing to locate in a state…false. If this were true then all the RTW states in the south would be the heart of the nation’s industrial might…they are not.
Eight of the ten states with the highest unemployment rates are RTW states. Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana are all at the bottom when it comes to education and have been for years. Do we really want Ohio to look like Mississippi? It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that when wages go down tax revenues follow and the fabric of society starts to unravel.
Mr. Morris then, wrongly, asserts that “union bosses” (like me I assume) are averaging $125,000 plus benefits. Having been a member for 38 years and can only speak for the Building Trades to say this is a fantasy! “Union bosses” wages are mostly tied to the contracts that they negotiate on behalf of their members…no raise for the member; no raise for us union fat cats. I’ll gladly show him my paycheck…obviously I missing out on something and someone owes me a lot of money!
As for “wining and dining” elected officials; all of our activities are reported to the Department of Labor. Do the corporate backers of RTW legislation report all their wining and dining activities, retreats with legislators and influential “seminars” at posh resorts? Corporations spend 10 times what Unions do on elections and RTW is designed solely to weaken unions influence in the political arena. Unions are very weak, if not nonexistent, in RTW states and ALL workers suffer as a result. The job I do now pays $15 less per hour in any of the aforementioned RTW states.
Finally, Mr. Morris asserts that dues or fees for union representation should be voluntary. Workers should get all the hard fought wages and benefits and not pay anything for them? Really? How long would the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Morris’s ABC or even your local health club stay in business without a fee to join and be represented? If workers don’t want to join a union then they should seek employment in the 86% of the workplace that is non-union where they can fend for themselves and bargain for their own working conditions, wages and benefits.
Lawrence E. Oberding
Greater Cincinnati Building
And Construction Trades Council