Boldly Ignoring Ohio Voters, Legislature Moves on More Union-Busting
Protestors gathered in Columbus today as the state House held hearings on two bills — HJR 5 and HB 151 designed to weaken the position of workers and depress wages in Ohio.
HJR 5 would limit private-sector employees' negotiation rights, which currently pale next to the power of employers. And HB 151 is right to work — it would place a constitutional amendment making Ohio a right to work (for less) state on the ballot.
That's pretty nervy. A right to work (for less) campaign would simply awaken the forces that opposed SB 5 in 2009 and remind them why they repealed it with 62% of the vote. It would certainly damage Governor Kasich's re-election chances.
That's why there's a good chance this will not progress to the end. Kasich is already in election mode, pretending he doesn't have opinions or positions on anything. It's very likely he doesn't want to revisit the SB 5 debate when he's campaigning for re-election.
House minority leader Tracy Heard of Columbus released a statement that said,
I sincerely hope that my friends across the aisle heard the millions of Ohioans who stood up and spoke out during senate bill 5, and that this will be the only hearing on these anti-workers’ rights bills. We have watched in other states as so-called ‘right to work’ legislation was quickly and quietly rammed through in the middle of the night, and we will work tirelessly to prevent Gov. Kasich from doing the same thing to Ohio’s working families, in an attempt to appease the extremist right wing.
When Kasich was elected in 2008, he promised to focus on nothing but jobs, jobs, jobs. So far, his record hasn't been good. His much-touted JobsOhio hasn't created many jobs and looks ready to become mired in scandal, given his efforts to keep its financial books a secret. And SB 5 was nothing but an assault on workers' rights.
So are these two new bills. They don't create jobs as much as they plunge workers into deeper poverty.
But go ahead, legislature. Put right to work (for less) on the ballot. We look forward to engaging you in this fight, and helping us to elect Ed FitzGerald Ohio's next governor.