No employer or labor organization shall deny or abridge the right to work by requiring membership or non-membership in, or payment or non-payment of money in, a labor organization as a condition of employment or continued employment in this state. All agreements in conflict with this section are, to the extent of such conflict, unlawful and of no effect in this state.
Official Ohio Ballot Language, Issue No. 2, November 1958
These were the simple words on the Ohio ballot in 1958 that set off one of the most dividing political battles in all of Ohio history. After millions of dollars, a huge voter registration drive, and the onslaught of modern campaign techniques, “Right-to-Work” in Ohio was defeated by nearly one million votes, which at the time was one of the worst defeats for a ballot issue in Ohio’s history. In that same election, C. William O’Neill, the golden boy who had been Speaker of the House and a three term attorney general before he was forty, also went down in a resounding defeat. The Republican party lost everything that year.
Now, it seems that the republicans are determined to go down that path once again. And once again it will result in abject failure, and total loss for the Republican party in Ohio. They have pulled out all the stops and dirty tricks to pass S.B. 5 the anti-union bill. They pulled not one but 2 senators from committees, who were opposed to the bill and replaced them with two who were in favor. It must be remembered that these were republican senators opposed to the bill. Done 30 minutes prior to the vote. But as Ohio progressive blog Plunderbund states, Senate President Tom Niehaus [R] may have violated Senate rules by making the last-minute move:
Senate Rule 19 suggests the President of the Senate can change the makeup of a Committee, at will, but only by first issuing a Message [parliamentary term of art] that changes the membership. On the day of the vote, Niehaus issued no such message. He may issue one during the floor session, but that’s after the fact. There’s probably a parliamentary scramble to figure out if Niehaus’ replacement of Seitz complies with the Rules of the Senate.
It just gets stranger and stranger. Now it seems that Senator Karen Gilmore may have been promised a chairmanship for her vote. She was against the bill and publicly said so. And then she changed her vote. All republicans state that there have been no irregularities in regards to S.B. 5.
Republicans are trying to pass this legislation by April, so if there is a referendum, it will on the ballot in 2011 and not 2011. There will be a referendum. The machinery has already begun to move. God bless Ohio law. It has already been suggested by Ohio state representatives, that their consideration of this bill will take much longer. Eventually, this will be in the hands of the people, where it belongs. Just like 1958.
A large voter turnout in a general election is the Republicans’ worst nightmare. The Republicans have screwed themselves, and as in 1958, they will be crushed in 2011 and 2012. Turnout won’t be an issue. in fact, it will be a benefit. Turnout in off-year elections like 2011 will make it far easier for union voters, who will come out in huge numbers for this issue alone, to outweight the Republican voters who bother to come out. Republicans forget there are Republicans that are union members, teachers, firefighters and police officers. Their job and family’s well-being will also be put in jeopardy.
People will not forget what the Republican party has done, not just in Ohio but nationwide. If you don’t believe me, then check out the Republican National Committees web page. There primary platform is to rid American of unions.
Republicans have awakened a sleeping dog, the Democrats. At long last Democrats have begun to fight.