Undeterred after SB5 defeat, Ohio conservative group pledges to put right-to-work measure on 2012 ballot
Fresh off a resounding loss on a ballot measure that would have severely restricted the collective bargaining rights of Ohio’s public employees, conservatives are now trying to take on unionized employees in the private sector, too.
A group of tea party activists have formed a group called Ohioans for Workplace Freedom, and plan to put a measure on the 2012 ballot that would amend the state constitution by making Ohio a right-to-work state, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
“Currently, Ohio is not among one of 22 right-to-work states in the U.S. In those states, unions may not reach agreements with employers that require union membership or payment of union dues as a condition of employment,” The Dispatch reports.
A similar measure was on the ballot in 1958. Ohio voters rejected the proposed constitutional amendment by a margin of 63 percent to 37 percent, and, in the process, propelled Democrats to victories in both the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate race that year. At the time, it was the largest defeat of a statewide ballot issue in Ohio’s history.
On Tuesday, Ohio voters rejected Issue 2, a statewide referendum on union-busting legislation known as Senate Bill 5, by a margin of 61 percent to 39 percent.
SB5 would have ended the practice of “fair share payments,” which public employees that choose to be non-union members are currently required to pay for the costs of negotiating and administering a contract from which they derive benefits.
Gov. John Kasich, who after watching his signature piece of legislation go down in flames on election night, declared “the people have spoken,” did not entirely rule out getting behind this latest effort.
“Kasich, the primary pitchman for Senate Bill 5 and Issue 2, has previously stated that he did not believe Ohio needed to become a right-to-work state. This morning, Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said ‘job creation is Gov. Kasich’s top priority and we need to continue to work hard to create a jobs-friendly climate in Ohio,’” The Dispatch reports.
Before going on the ballot, likely in time for the 2012 presidential election, the group would have to get the language approved and collect 386,000 valid signatures in support.