Committee Moves to Block Ohio Power Grab

Committee staffer Ron Hood: While passing Right to Work in Ohio won’t be easy, the “payoff will be huge.”
Committee staffer Ron Hood: While passing Right to Work in Ohio won’t be easy, the “payoff will be huge.” (Credit: Ron Hood)

Deceptive Scheme Would Corral Refinery Workers Into Unions

As Ohio lawmakers go back to work this month after an eleven-week summer recess, the state’s GOP-controlled General Assembly is dangerously close to acquiescing to a Big Labor power grab that would effectively mandate unionized apprenticeship training for would-be refinery workers.

If this legislation — introduced as H.B.205 — becomes law, refinery workers will be forced to go through union boss-sponsored training, even when other training options exist and the workers have no interest in being pressured to join a union. Since Ohio does not have a Right to Work law, many employees over whom Big Labor gains control because of H.B.205 will ultimately be forced to pay union dues or fees for unwanted “representation” simply in order to keep their jobs.

Unfortunately, if Ohio Republicans capitulate to Big Labor this fall, it won’t be the first time. Although rank-and-file GOP voters in the state overwhelmingly support Right to Work, there is a long history of “bipartisan” support for monopolistic unionism in Columbus.

Corrupt Deal by Former GOP Speaker Still Having Negative Repercussions

In fact, in 2019, Ohio’s former Republican Speaker, Larry Householder (Perry County), actually reassumed the helm of the state House of Representatives by forging an alliance between the chamber’s Democrat minority and Big Labor-aligned Republicans that was brokered by powerful union bosses.

Mr. Householder’s second stint as speaker was brief. In June 2020, he was arrested for bribery and racketeering.

He was convicted this March, and began serving a 20-year sentence this June.

The unholy alliance, though, has continued into this session. Current Republican Speaker Jason Stephens (Kitts Hill) won his position when 22 Big Labor-appeasing Republicans joined with minority Democrats to back him at the behest of union bosses.

As repayment, the speaker and his cronies in leadership engineered the passage of H.B.205 through the House in late June.

In response to this development, National Right to Work Committee Executive Director Ron Hood, who is based in Ohio, stated:

“The fact that this power grab sailed through the House once again confirms that the ‘Blue 22’ caucus, along with Ohio Democrats, is in Big Labor’s pocket.

House politicians brazenly sold out current workers in oil refineries who are now employed on a merit-shop basis.

“But I remain cautiously optimistic the Ohio Senate, which is also GOP-controlled, will listen to freedom-loving citizens and stop H.B.205.”

California Experience Shows Goal of Legislation Is Eliminating Union-Free Jobs

The negative effects H.B.205 would have are already apparent from the experience of America’s most populous state. Big Labor-dominated California passed an almost identical refinery union scheme in 2014. In the years since, the number of union-free employees working in the state’s refineries dropped precipitously, all to the gain of union bosses like the scandal-ridden hierarchy of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers.

Earlier this year, another pro-refinery union monopoly measure was passed and signed into law in union-label Minnesota, where union political operatives are now nearly as powerful as they are in California.

The anti-worker, anti-consumer and anti-business aims of building trades union bosses in the North Star State were recently exposed in a RealClearPolicy commentary by former Minnesota union welder Karl Ludwig. His union’s schemes to deny opportunities to would-be union members as well as union-free labor caused him to quit in disgust. (See page seven for more information.)

Fortunately, Ohioans still have time to stop H.B.205 in its tracks. There are 126,145 National Right to Work members in the Buckeye State, and the Committee and several other organizations have expressed strong opposition to this power grab in recent months.

Of course, Right to Work supporters’ real goal in Ohio is to end forced unionism, not just stop it from getting even worse.

“The road to eventual passage of Right to Work in Ohio won’t be easy,” said Mr. Hood. “But the payoff will be huge.

“No Ohioan should be forced to pay a union boss in order to work. Regardless of the outcome of this battle to keep refinery workers out of predatory union-boss control, freedom-loving citizens must redouble their efforts to ban all forced union dues and fees.”

This article was originally published in our monthly newsletter. Go here to access previous newsletter posts.

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