The next attack on workers has begun! Republicans in the U.S. Congress have announced a national right-to-work bill. The legislation is part of a national trend to bar unions from requiring that workers, who have voted to belong to a union, pay dues for equitable representation. Reps. Joe Wilson of South Carolina and Steve King of Iowa are sponsoring the legislation.
To date, 27 states, more than half the country, have passed right-to-work laws, siding with businesses over American union members and their right to have a collective voice in the workplace.
Even though 2017 has just begun, anti-union Ohio legislators, led by Rep. John Becker, have already announced that they will soon be introducing their own version of right to work to silence Ohio's public employee workers.
"With Kentucky being the 27th state to continue that [right to work] trend, it's time Ohio steps up to the plate," said Ohio House GOP leaders of their desire to kill union rights like most of the state's neighbors. The memo specifically targets public sector union members.
AFSCME President Lee Saunders said that the announcement of President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, could also have serious implications on workers and their right to have a voice on the job. “A ninth justice will have the power to determine the direction of the law for generations, dramatically impacting millions of American lives," said Saunders in a press release
An Illinois court case, Janus v. AFSCME
, that will likely reach the U.S. Supreme Court by October 2017 and be decided by summer 2018 could mean right to work restrictions on every government employee across the nation.
"These are not trends to build up workers and wages, they are trends to silence public employee union members in the workplace and take away their right to collectively bargain wages, benefits, safety and more, "said OCSEA President Christopher Mabe of the attacks. The attacks have even made their way into local governments. Thanks to OCSEA activists and other friends in labor, a right-to-work ordinance proposed in West Chester Township, Ohio has been temporarily put on hold.
"Wages are 3.1 percent lower in so-called 'right-to-work' states, for union and nonunion workers alike, even after accounting for differences in cost of living, demographics, and labor market characteristics," said the Economic Policy Institute
. The group says the erosion of unions is directly correlated to decreased and stagnant wages and an increasing share of the national income going to corporate profits and those at the top. No matter party affiliation, the issue of good jobs and wages were top priorities for voters this past November.