New Speaker of Ohio House Not Interested in Anti-Union Legislation

The new Republican elected Speaker of the Ohio House, Larry Householder, has promised building trade unions and Democrats he will not support proposed legislation considered anti-union.

By a 52-45 count, Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) was elected Speaker thanks in large part to the chamber’s Democrats, who voted overwhelmingly for him over Rep. Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell).

Larry Householder

Rep. Larry Householder

A Jan. 11 Columbus Dispatch article stated Householder, the Speaker from 2001 to 2004, won over Democrat support by agreeing to work with Democrats.

In return for their support, Householder, who was endorsed in the November general election by ACT Ohio and the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, promised he would not back anti-union legislation such as So-Called “Right to Work” laws, the repeal of Prevailing Wage and the repeal of Project Labor Agreement legislation. He also agreed to other items, including naming Democrats co-chairs on certain committees.

This promise led major Ohio labor unions, including multiple building trades, to push Democrats to support Householder.

Throughout the last eight years, organized labor has been forced to play defense against anti-union attacks. If the Speaker holds up on his promises, organized labor may finally get to play a little offense. Such an opportunity may help the building trades make inroads on additional areas of concern for the industry, such as pushing for a positive solution to properly fund Ohio’s Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund without slashing the benefits.

In the General Assembly’s other chamber, Larry Obhof (R-Medina), a building trades endorsed candidate, was unanimously re-elected to a second term as Senate President.

Republicans hold a 61-38 super majority in the House, a 24-9 super majority in the Senate and are in control of all statewide offices.

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