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Group gears up for new battle

Published: Tue, March 13, 2012 @ 12:01 a.m.

By David Skolnick



The organization that led the successful November 2011 campaign to overturn a state law restricting some collective-bargaining rights for public employees is gearing up for another battle.

This time, We Are Ohio plans to fight a right-to-work constitutional amendment that could be on this November’s ballot.

Ohioans for Workplace Freedom, the organization behind the right-to-work proposal, needs at least 385,253 valid signatures — 10 percent of the number of votes in the 2010 gubernatorial election — on petitions to the secretary of state’s office by a July 4 deadline.

Currently, state law requires those in unionized workplaces to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

Ohioans for Workplace Freedom wants an amendment that no longer would require people to become members of or remain in a union, and not be required to pay union dues or other fees as a condition of employment.

Right-to-work is an attack on middle-class and working-class families, said Jim Graham, president of the United Auto Workers Local 1112 at the Lordstown General Motors complex.

Graham and volunteer members of We Are Ohio spoke Monday at the Lemon Grove Cafe in downtown Youngstown in opposition to the potential constitutional amendment.

“They’re trying to disrupt the collective-bargaining process in our state,” Graham said. “If they’re successful, it will decimate the middle class.”

The Workplace Freedom group’s Chris Littleton said to understand the economic impacts of compulsory union membership you have to look beyond average wages. He said cost-of-living also must be taken into consideration when making state-to-state comparisons.

“The only reason we’re doing this ... is because it’s the right policy for the state of Ohio,” he said. “Everybody resonates with the idea that workers should get to choose whether they join a union. They should have that freedom.”

“We won once against these politicians who tried to take away collective- bargaining rights,” said Helen Youngblood, a case manager at the Youngs-town office of Ohio Job and Family Services and president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2001.

And it will happen again if right-to-work is on the ballot, she said.

We Are Ohio, which has been inactive since the November 2011 repeal of Senate Bill 5, had press conferences Monday in six cities, including Youngstown. The group also opposes House Bill 194, which makes changes to the state’s voting laws.

Mike Patrick, who heads the IT firm Patrick Solutions in Grandview, was the first to sign We Are Ohio’s petition last year. He said Monday he opposes the right-to-work amendment because he believes it will undermine Ohio’s middle-class standard of living — and that will drive businesses away.

Contributor: Associated Press


1Buci01(12 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Having lived in a State that was a Right to Work State, I did not find that state losing business to surrounding states. Also I did not see where the Middle Class suffered at all. As a matter of fact both myself and my wife worked and had a good life till she passed and I retired. So I believe voters in the State of Ohio will be intelligent enough to make common sense decisions without untruths being spread around.

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2palbubba(767 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

While Wisconsin, which passed and enacted legislation limiting collective bargaining, has turned school districts from deficits to surplus, this "organization" that had Ohio's law overturned, to the detriment of Ohio is now working on further killing Ohio.
“They’re trying to disrupt the collective-bargaining process in our state,” Graham said. “If they’re successful, it will decimate the middle class.” I would love for Mr. Graham to show me one, just one, piece of evidence to support this claim. It has become the mantra of the Democratic party to paint everything they disagree with the broad brush of "it will decimate the middle class" I have a news flash for Mr. Graham, gasoline fast approaching $4.00 a gallon, constantly increasing taxes, food prices going up rapidly, these are things that are decimating the middle class. Tack on to that the low rate of return on any savings, which his beloved party wants to raise taxes on, and the middle class has no chance.

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3redeye1(5423 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Palbubba You state some great stats, but most people of this valley won't believe them They will call you a liar because they don't want to face the true.

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4Phil_EngAmer(32 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. We are Ohio had a large hand in killing SB5, but if you look at what has happened to state since the vote, the state is hardly in a better place. Before the SB5 vote you had workers suffering due to unsustainable contracts, and the loss of SB5 did little to nothing to stop these problems (http://bit.ly/AkjOHj).

RTW legislation should be considered a lot less controversial than SB5 as there are many benefits (http://bit.ly/Ad4S85) and doesn’t bar workers from collectively bargaining. Despite the weight of the money We are Ohio will throw behind and movement it’s clear that there are many in the state who feel some form of union reforming legislation is necessary (http://bit.ly/n0DgAp), which was made even more apparent when many in the state voted down tax levies on the same day as the SB5 vote (http://bit.ly/vXAwy4).

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5Bigben(1996 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

The more folks make the more tax money can be collected unless your uber rich and have loopholes. Is Big Shale paying taxes ? Wasn't that one of the selling points? That would sure help to pay a lot of teacher salaries. How about all the out of state trash that comes in to our landfills?

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