Post-election, it was business as usual at the Ohio Statehouse this week, with many “lame duck” lawmakers ending their terms trying to push through “pet” legislation that's been sitting on the shelves this legislative year. Anything that isn’t passed before session ends in six weeks fails and must start the process over.
On Tuesday and Wednesday alone, state lawmakers held hearings on nearly 100 bills, including many controversial items that legislators hope they can push through at the last minute. This included a dangerous public Right-to-Work bill, that, like Senate Bill 5 nearly 8 years ago, attempts to bust unions and limit workplace rights for public workers protected by a union contract. And like SB 5, House Bill 53 --the public RTW bill--was confronted with major opposition on Tuesday with hearing rooms packed with proud public union members.
Opponents say Right-to-Work legislation for public employees will lower wages and mean fewer workplace protections from both physical and financial dangers. It will also open the door for busting unions in the private sector as well.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. John Becker, has attempted to push through similar union-busting legislation in years past but to no avail thanks to similar worker opposition. Rep. Becker says he’s not optimistic about the bill’s chances to pass this session but does intend to introduce it again next year.
“We will continue to be there to show our opposition to these efforts to thwart our members’ rights on the job. Ohioans said no to SB 5 in 2011, and we hope legislators and state leaders will respect that. We look forward to working with lawmakers who value the importance of state employees and their unions to grow wages and build our state economy,” said OCSEA Secretary-Treasurer Kathy Gersper, who attended the hearing.