|“Right to Work” Is Wrong For Ohio|
Representative Brinkman is dead wrong to suggest “Right to Work” would be good for Ohio workers. Unions comprise only 14% of the workforce in this country. It follows that you do have a “Right to Work” at 86% of the jobs out there without the burden of union dues or the onerous collectively bargained pay, benefits and pensions that a unions fight for every day. On the other hand, if you do work in a unionized workplace and are unhappy with your representation; the workers can decertify the union representing them, at any time, and fend for themselves. Key here is the employees can VOTE to choose or ditch the union if they desire…a founding principle of the United States.
Rep. Brinkman goes on to state that in the 26 states that have RTW laws the economies do better. He is dead wrong again. RTW states have 51% higher workplace fatalities, have 21% less health insurance, pay out more in food stamps and Medicaid, spend 31% less on education, have a 16% higher infant mortality rates and the average worker makes $5,300 less than non-RTW states. Do we really want Ohio to look like Texas, Mississippi or Alabama? Have you noticed where these states rank in education? Pitiful.
It is by design that unions are weak as kittens in RTW states and there is a clear corollary between that union anemia and wages for ALL workers; union or not. Indeed, the job that I currently do would pay me $15-20 less per hour in the aforementioned states than here in Ohio. If the “freedom” he refers to is to make substantially less disposable cash, pension and benefits; I prefer being under the union yoke that I have chosen for the last 38 years as an Ironworker.
He goes on to assert that many cities in RTW states recovered from the recession faster and hourly pay increased. Hourly pay has nowhere to go but up as full-time workers, in so many of these great RTW states, are surviving on food stamps or other government assistance. I know of no union employees that have to rely on taxpayers to get by.
It is important to realize that Collective bargaining is a contract between the union and the employer. BOTH agree to bargain in good faith and BOTH benefit from the arrangement. Both he and his Republican party have sold themselves as getting the government out of our lives. It seems they will make an exception for unions and in our bedrooms.
Dues, or union fees, he contends are used only for political activities. Again, he is dead wrong. The union member must sign off on any monies used for political activities and all expenditures are voted on. That is how my union works at least.
Dues pay for advocacy of workers issues, apprentice and training programs in the millions (free to the member and at no taxpayer cost), taxes, facility upgrades, extensive charitable giving and all the other expenses that it takes to run a business. To belong to the Chamber of Commerce costs a fee and we are no different.
Lastly, if RTW laws were so advantageous for the economies of their states; the south would be the richest area of the country…it is not by a long shot. Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana are the latest states to adopt RTW and their economies have declined precipitously. RTW hurts ALL workers. Less pay means less disposable income for consumers and less in taxes for schools, infrastructure and all government services that attract new business to Ohio. HB377 will erode the standard of living for Ohioans just as RTW has everywhere it is law.
Lawrence E. Oberding
Greater Cincinnati Building and Construction Trades Council