Recent Right to Work Victories Under Fire

Big Labor Blitzes For Compulsory Unionism in Wisconsin and Ohio

(Source: May 2011 NRTWC Newsletter)

Since the 1960’s, Big Labor lobbyists in 21 states have successfully pressured elected officials to pass statutes explicitly authorizing union bosses to get independent-minded public servants fired for refusal to pay dues or fees to a union the employees would never voluntarily join.

Until this year, despite the growing success of the Right to Work movement with regard to the private sector, not a single state legislature had ever revoked government union bosses’ forced-dues privileges after previously granting them by statute.

But this March two states, Wisconsin and Ohio, made history by restoring the Right to Work of public servants.

Over ferocious and sometimes menacing Big Labor opposition, Badger State legislators approved, and GOP Gov. Scott Walker signed into law, S.B.11. Key provisions in this law abolish all forced union dues and fees for teachers and many other public employees. Unfortunately, it leaves public-safety officers unprotected.

The Buckeye State reform, which union militants opposed with nearly equal bitterness but considerably less media attention, includes provisions protecting the Right to Work of all categories of state and local government employees, including public-safety officers. This law, signed by GOP Gov. John Kasich, is still commonly referred to by its legislative bill number, S.B.5.

National Right to Work Helped Mobilize Public Support For Reforms

“Public support for S.B.11 was mobilized in part by the National Right to Work Committee’s e-mail and telecommunications activities,” noted Committee Vice President Matthew Leen. “And the 118,000 National Committee members in Ohio were instrumental in helping secure the passage of S.B.5.

“These were major victories for the Right to Work cause. But they are in danger of being reversed.”

In Wisconsin, Mr. Leen noted, a Dane County Circuit judge whose son is a union operative and currently runs a consulting firm for union-label politicians in the state has taken the extraordinary step of prohibiting publication, let alone enforcement, of S.B.11.

The state Supreme Court may well ultimately overturn Judge Maryann Sumi’s edict, but this could take months, or even years.

And in Ohio, Mr. Leen added, the union brass has announced it is prepared to spend $20 million to kill S.B.5 in a statewide referendum this November. Big Labor agents are now collecting signatures to get their repeal measure on the ballot.

Right to Work Leader Hopeful Big Labor Blitzes Can Be Repelled

“In both states, the National Committee will be offering our advice and counsel, as well as financial resources, to citizen groups and individuals who are battling to keep the new Right to Work laws on the books,” said Mr. Leen.

“Given the enormous amount of forced-dues money union bosses continue to have at their disposal in Wisconsin and Ohio, these will be difficult fights. But one important factor we have in our favor is that Gov. Walker and Gov. Kasich have both demonstrated they are willing to stand up for the Right to Work principle.

“Both Mr. Walker and Mr. Kasich offer a refreshing contrast to another Midwestern Republican governor, Indiana’s Mitch Daniels, who sabotaged comprehensive Right to Work legislation in his state this year rather than face a showdown with Big Labor over it.

“Thanks in part to the willingness of Mr. Walker and Mr. Kasich to use their bully pulpits to counter Big Labor distortions and falsehoods, I am hopeful the new public-sector Right to Work measures in Wisconsin and Ohio will withstand all union-boss assaults.”