Advocates call for policies that support Ohio’s workers
Posted February 13, 2018 in Press Releases
Later this month, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear Janus v. AFSCME, which threatens the ability of unions to collect fair share fees. Ohio legislators also recently unveiled a slate of proposals designed to give more power to corporations at the expense of workers, including so-called “right to work” legislation, which could greatly reduce the power of Ohio’s unions. With working people facing threats at state and national levels, Policy Matters Ohio joined ProgressOhio to unveil a new policy brief, “A way forward: 10 ways to support Ohio’s working people.”
“So-called ‘Right-to-Work’ legislation and related judicial attacks like the pending Janus case don’t address these real struggles of working people,” Policy Matters Researcher Hannah Halbert said. “Unionized workers in Ohio make $4 an hour more than their non-union counterparts, $8,000 more a year for full-time work.Union workers are more likely to have pensions and paid sick days, and less likely to be treated unfairly at work or experience harassment or workplace injuries.”
Cincinnati fire fighter and Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters Communications Director Doug Stern said so-called right-to-work laws not only chip away at the fabric of unions, but can make communities less safe.
"Attacks like these on working people and unions are attacks on fire fighters, police officers and all first responders, he said. “Our fire fighters and police officers deserve the right to collectively bargain so that we can effectively advocate for the training and equipment that keep our communities safe.”
For decades, state and federal policymakers have chipped away at worker protections. As a result, Ohio’s job growth has been weak and the state’s wealthiest 1 percent earned more than 19 times the average of the bottom 99 percent of earners combined.
"The decline of unions has significantly contributed to the decline of the middle class as wages have remained stagnant and workers are getting a smaller and smaller share of income," said Wright State University Economics Professor Rudy Fichtenbaum. "Attacks on unions are not about increasing job growth; they're about corporations and the political elite gaining power over workers."
Policy Matters calls for the policymakers to protect workers’ right to organize, as well as strengthen the public sector, raise the minimum wage, restore the 40-hour work week, fix Ohio’s broken unemployment compensation system and more.