Right-to-work amendment spurs new union debate

BUTLER COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - Just two days after Ohio voters overwhelmingly rejected a state law curbing collective bargaining rights, a tea party coalition said it will push an amendment to the state's constitution that would prevent workers covered by union contracts from being required to join unions or pay dues.

"People should have the freedom to join a union if they want to and they absolutely should have the freedom to opt out if necessary as well," said Mike Wilson of the Cincinnati Tea Party.
Wilson says the amendment is much different from Senate Bill 5, which had a portion that addressed right to work issues for public sector workers, but the new amendment pertains to all workers.
"This doesn't address collective bargaining rights at all, all this does is give people a choice, be a part of a union, don't be a part of a union, that's entirely up to you, and that's a decision you should be able to make," Wilson said.
But Jon Harvey, president of the Middletown Firefighters union says the amendment is a repackaged portion of Senate Bill 5, and he finds the timing of the new campaign, introduced just two days after Issue two failed, to be interesting.
"This seemed like an orchestrated continued attack on the middle class worker; kind of taken a back a little bit by the timing, right after the election, that this had sprung up," Harvey said.
Both sides seem to have very opposite views of the impact that right-to-work  amendments have had in other states.
"When you look at right-to-work states, a lot of them are in worse economical conditions than the state of Ohio," Harvey said.
"States that don't have forced unionization do better than states that do, at this point," Wilson said.
The group has submitted an initial 1,000 signatures and the proposed wording for its right-to-work amendment to the state's attorney general.
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