Petitions circulated in Ohio to put right-to-work initiative on - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Petitions circulated in Ohio to put right-to-work initiative on November 2013 ballot

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LORDSTOWN, Ohio - The Michigan state legislature and governor have given their stamp of approval to a controversial right-to-work plan.

Now a group in Ohio is circulating petitions to get the right-to-work initiative on the ballot here.

Under heavy protest, Michigan lawmakers passed the legislation on Tuesday making it a right-to-work state. Governor Rick Snyder signed the measure making the state, often referred to as a labor stronghold, the 24th right-to-work state in the country.

Petitions are now being circulated in Ohio to get a similar initiative on the November 2013 ballot.

Chris Littleton from Ohioans for Workplace Freedom says 396,000 signatures are needed in Ohio by July to put the issue on the November 2013 ballot. Just under 100,000 signatures have already been collected.

Littleton, one of the people who initiated the right-to-work effort in Ohio says, "The singular issue, and I mean nothing else is whether a worker should be forced to pay dues or fees as a condition of their employment. It does not affect any existing contracts, it does not undue any unions, it does not stop any unions from forming in the future. It simply says it should be left to the worker to decide if the union is for them."

But Valley union leaders believe the right-to-work initiatives are designed to strip away their political power and their bargaining power and can also hurt charitable efforts in the community.

Dave Green, President of United Auto Workers Local 1714, says, "Clearly we're opposed to it. It creates really an unfair disadvantage for us because you get these free riders in the union. People who pay no dues, but by federal law we still have to represent them."

So in other words, all the benefits of a union without paying for it, according to Green.

"All you have to do is look at the statistics for right-to-work states. The people who work in those states earn less money and receive more government assistance because they're not making as much money," Green said.

Littleton, who supports the measure, argues that's not true and believes it stimulates economic development. "For job growth alone, it's jet fuel for an economy," Littleton said.

If the measure does make it on the ballot and pass in Ohio, Green and others who oppose it say prepare for a fight similar to the fight that ultimately repealed Senate Bill 5.

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