right-to-work law in Indiana could
be a learning experience for Ohio
By Kevin O’Brien
January 6, 2012
week before Issue 2 got clobbered at
the polls, Ohio Tea Party activists and the libertarian 1851 Center for
Law announced that they were laying the groundwork for a constitutional
amendment to make Ohio a right-to-work state.
announcement wasn’t trumpeted amid
euphoric expectation that Ohioans would pass Issue 2, thereby affirming
perfectly sensible law to curb the power of public employee unions.
came amid a growing certainty that Issue 2 would be defeated.
people who want a right-to-work
law for union-hobbled Ohio have the right idea. From the standpoints of
individual freedom, economic sense and a hope for future statewide
allowing people to choose whether they want to belong to unions at
workplaces is unassailably logical.
there’s such a thing as doing the
right thing at the wrong time, and this would be the wrong time.
a serious challenge to a Big
Labor campaign apparatus that is both well organized and triumphantly
after its campaign to defeat Issue 2 would require more money than a
activist could even imagine.
that challenge now would also
require regaining all of the educational ground that was lost over the
year, as Issue 2 advocates allowed public employee unions to turn a
issue into an emotional issue.
simply, the public will need time
to realize what a colossal mistake it made in voting down Issue 2.
the argument that Big Labor
in Ohio is tapped out after spending $40 million in the last election
wishful thinking. A ton of the money spent to beat Issue 2 came from
Ohio, and there’s plenty more where that came from. As long as people
forced to join unions, the supply of money Big Labor can throw at its
emergencies is, for all intents and purposes, inexhaustible.
for Ohioans who understand
that right-to-work is a great idea, there’s a solution.
in Indianapolis, the Indiana
legislature began debate on a bill that would make theirs the 23rd
right-to-work state. The bill is expected to pass, eventually, after a
attempted intimidation like that seen in Wisconsin and Ohio as those
legislatures worked to get public employees back under public control.
Gov. Mitch Daniels is
stacking a great deal of his considerable political capital on the
something he has not done before, though a right-to-work bill has been
introduced in Indiana in each of the last seven years.
a doubt, the public employee
unions will lead the charge against the legislation. They’re the unions
are growing -- because government is the nation’s only unionized growth
“industry.” That’s where labor money and clout reside today.
will be a different fight than
Ohio’s was, because it will also involve unions at private employers.
still a good fight.
problem with public employee
unions has always been that they actively promote their members’
against the interests of the taxpaying public.
in the private sector don’t do
that. They exist to balance their private interests against the
private interests, and that’s fine.
wrong is that in 28 states,
including Indiana and Ohio, a worker can be compelled to join a union
dues if his or her place of employment is unionized.
benefits of that arrangement to the
union -- and to the political causes the union leadership chooses to
are obvious. The benefits to the employee often are considerably less
especially when the job gets offshored, or the company goes out of
because it can no longer justify the cost of labor.
right-to-work law would give Ohio
the chance to preserve some of the businesses that it has and
make the state more attractive to commerce in general.
a right-to-work law isn’t going to
pass. Not here. Not now.
Attorney General Mike DeWine had
a problem with the wording of the proposed amendment, so the initiative
stalled -- and it should stay stalled. Rather than push an idea doomed
timing, Ohioans who want to bring workplace freedom to the rust belt
step back and let Indiana carry this ball.
governor there has been in office
far longer and is far more popular, Big Labor doesn’t have a ready-made
opposition machine in place and the electorate is likely to be more
because it’s more conservative.
need a demonstration project
that shows how beneficial it can be to let go of old ways that put the
on prosperity. It could happen -- right next door.
this and other articles at the
Cleveland Plain Dealer