State legislator unveils new attacks on organized labor

An Ohio state representative has proposed a series of ballot initiatives that would amend the state constitution with language to hurt thousands of union workers and their families.

State Rep. John Becker (R-Cincinnati) proposed six amendments to Ohio’s constitution to repeal prevailing wage, enact So-Called “Right to Work” in both public and private sector, prohibit state and local governments from withholding union dues from paychecks, ban Project Labor Agreements and require annual public-sector unions to conduct annual re-certification votes.

This is not the first time Becker has attacked Ohio’s Union workers. In June 2016 and February 2017, he proposed bills to make Ohio a So-Called “Right to Work” state. Once in a committee, neither piece of legislation received much support from Democrats or Republicans.

The Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council is against Becker’s proposals, which if passed, would ultimately mean less jobs, lower income and less safe working conditions for its members and the rest of the state’s highly skilled and highly trained construction workforce. These measures would hurt apprenticeship recruitment and reduce the number of highly skilled and highly trained building trades members in Ohio to build the needed infrastructure to propel the economy forward.

Simply stated, these measures are bad for the Cleveland Building Trades affiliated members and bad for Ohio in general.

Repealing Prevailing Wage will result in a reduced paycheck, weaken apprenticeship programs and could lead to out-of-state contractors winning more bids than in-state contractors, which means fewer jobs for Ohio’s tradesmen and tradeswomen.

Making Ohio a So-Called “Right to Work” state would force dues paying union members to subsidize services to non-union members and could cost thousands of dollars in legal fees, lead to lower wages and unsafe working conditions.

Eliminating PLAs would open the door for non-union contractors to underbid certain public jobs, leading to less work for building trades members.

The final two proposals, to prohibit governments from collecting union dues from paychecks and require an annual union re-certification vote to grant their union permission to negotiate their contract, are seen as union-busting measures.

Both items would work to undermine union representation by either reducing the amount of dues paying members or eliminating union representation.

If these measures do make it to the ballot, unions and their members will have their hands full fending off another round of attacks in order to preserve their right to collectively bargain.

A super-majority vote of the House and Senate would be needed by August to put the issues on the Nov. 6 ballot.

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