In his Feb. 16 op-ed column, “Right-to-work means freedom, choice for Ohio workers,” Greg R. Lawson said nonunion shops that have benefits similar to those of union shops are the results of enlightened management. But it is the only way those shops can keep unions out.
The exodus of workers from union states to right-to-work states that Mr. Lawson refers to is the result of post-World War II construction of modern factories in Japan and Germany. The infrastructure of our factories crumbled, producing low-quality products.
Investors saw the South as a viable alternative that would be cheaper than revamping the industrial North. Building plants in the right-to-work South, with big incentives from politicians, companies offered hourly wages with some benefits that were comparable to union wages.
The fight for child labor laws, workplace safety, a 40-hour work week, lunch breaks, sick leave, health care, pension benefits, maternity leave, and an end to nepotism, favoritism, arbitrary firing, and harassment is why unions are important. Without unions, these benefits will be curtailed.
Unions fear loss of money, power
The dirty little secret of the right-to-work debate is the change it represents for organized labor. Unions in Ohio have a captive audience.
Where there is no right-to-work law on the books, in general as a condition of employment new employees must join a union if it is present.
Employees, especially new hires, have no say on issues related to dues or how political action funds are allocated.
In a right-to-work environment, employees can decide for themselves whether the union is worth paying dues to. That places unions in a position of ensuring that their services represent a true value proposition for the employees they represent.
As this issue grows, listen for unions to start citing statistics linking right-to-work states with poor workplace safety, lower wage rates, income inequality, and a shrinking middle class.
They’re really afraid of losing their guaranteed revenue stream.
If union membership is so great, why do unions have to have a law making it mandatory?
Jobs column heralds action
Blade Editor David Kushma’s Feb. 16 op-ed column, “Toledo is losing the race for tomorrow’s good jobs,” was great and should be the city’s wake-up call.
I suggest reading The New Geography of Jobs by Enrico Moretti.
The book suggests that a city needs high-quality education and innovative industries to stand out from the competition.
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