by Andy Brownfield
Ohio Dems wear carnations in solidarity with Michigan workers
In light of Michigan’s progress in passing a so-called
“right-to-work” law, Ohioans are both worried about and pushing for a
similar law allowing workers to opt-out of paying union dues at
businesses where workers are represented by a union.
Tea party activists are working to gather the 380,000
signatures needed to get the Ohio Workplace Freedom Act on the ballot.
They have until July 3.
The Michigan House of Representatives on Tuesday passed
the first of two right-to-work bills, both of which were passed by the
state Senate last week. Gov. Rick Snyder has told multiple media outlets
that he could sign the bills as early as Wednesday.
Michigan would be the 24th right-to-work state in the
nation and the second in the Midwest. Indiana passed a similar law
earlier this year.
Members of the Ohio House Democratic Caucus wore red
carnations — Ohio’s state flower and a symbol of the labor movement — at
the Statehouse Tuesday to show support for Michigan workers.
“Put simply, so called ‘right to work’ is wrong.
Statistics show states with this anti-working family legislation have
lower wages and higher poverty rates,” Ohio state Rep. Connie Pillich,
D-Montgomery, wrote in an emailed statement.
“We will continue to stand together and fight against these unfair attacks on workers in Ohio, Michigan and across the country.”
Despite the effort to put a right-to-work law on the
ballot next year — a similar effort was unsuccessful in 2012 — it
doesn’t seem like Ohio is in any rush to join Michigan and Indiana.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio Gov. John Kasich has higher priorities than passing a right-to-work law. The newspaper reports that Ohio added 127,000 jobs in the
past two years and ranks fourth nationally and first in the Midwest in
terms of job creation.
Kasich said the agenda for the last two years of his first
term include tax cuts, an education overhaul and infrastructure
improvement to keep the state competitive.
“I have an agenda that I think is going to benefit the
state of Ohio,” Kasich told the newspaper. “We’re doing very well
vis-a-vis the rest of the country now, and I think if we continue to
pursue the agenda I have and the legislature has, I think we’ll continue
to be successful.”FUN FACT: Michigan's right-to-work bill will be signed into law in the Romney Building. George Romney, former Michigan governor and father of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, was an opponent of right-to-work laws.