Repealing Prevailing Wage among Six Anti-Union Amendments Proposed to change Ohio’s Constitution

Prevailing Wage is one of six items coming under attack by proposed amendments to Ohio’s Constitution.

State Rep. John Becker (R-Cincinnati) proposed six amendments to Ohio’s Constitution that would repeal prevailing wage, create both public and private sector So-Called “Right to Work,” ban Project Labor Agreements, prohibit state and local governments from withholding union dues and require annual public-sector unions to conduct annual recertification votes.

This is not the first time Becker has attacked Ohio’s Union workers. In June 2016 and February 2017, he proposed bills to make Ohio a So-Called “Right to Work” state. Once in a committee, both pieces of legislation received little support from Democrats or Republicans. It may be why he feels the best chance to pass such measures is to go directly to the voters as a ballot initiative.

Dorsey Hager, Executive Secretary of the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, said the C/COBCTC is against all six proposals because the measures are bad for C/COBCTC affiliated members, bad for all building trades members, bad for Ohio’s union families and bad for Ohio.

Hager said these proposals would ultimately mean less jobs, lower income and create unsafe working conditions for the state’s highly skilled and highly trained construction workers, while also hurting individuals in other unions as well.

Repealing prevailing wage will result in a reduced paycheck, weaken apprenticeship programs and could lead to more work for out-of-state contractors.

Making Ohio a So-Called “Right to Work” state would force dues paying union members to subsidize services to non-union members and could cost unions thousands of dollars in legal fees, lead to lower wages and unsafe working conditions.

Eliminating PLAs would open the door for non-union contractors to bid on jobs, leading to fewer jobs for building trade members.

Other constitutional amendment changes include prohibiting governments from collecting union dues by withholding union dues from employees’ paychecks and to require an annual union recertification vote by members to grant their union permission to negotiate their contract.

At a Jan. 23 press conference, Becker said his goal is to put these issues on the statewide ballot in November 2020. To get the measures on the ballot, Becker would need the support of a super-majority of the House or to gather enough valid signatures from registered voters.

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