Protecting Union Rights


I believe that all hard-working Ohioans have a right to the American Dream...

...and that reliable and steady employment is necessary to achieve that dream. I will defend the rights of workers in Ohio and all across the nation. As a former president and long time executive board member of the Oberlin Ohio Education Association, I have a long history of fighting for the rights of those teaching our children. Corporations have always had the right to a profit, but they should not have the right to exploit American workers. In Congress, I will fight for fair wages and stronger protections for unions, and against the big money interests.

Right-to-Work Laws

Beginning in 1947, the Taft-Hartley Act required that unions must provide all workers, not just the union members, with the benefits of union coverage, including collective bargaining rights and representation in wrongful termination lawsuits. To offset the cost of this universal coverage, non-members are required to pay a portion of the union dues (an agency fee) that is directly attributable to the cost of representing them in collective bargaining. However, no part of the agency fee goes towards the union's political activities, and workers are never forced to become card-carrying union members and pay full dues.

Right-to-Work laws eliminate the agency fee requirement, essentially allowing workers to continue to get all of the benefits that the union is legally bound to provide, without having to pay a penny in return. It's not so much a right-to-work as a right-to-freeload.

When I was president of my teacher’s union, I saw first hand the harm of right-to-work laws. These laws are deceptive; they don’t entitle a citizen to a job. Instead, they undermine the legitimacy of unions in workplaces, reducing unions' collective bargaining rights and ultimately leading to lower wages and worse working conditions. According to a 2011 study by the Economic Policy Institute, wages in Right-to-Work (RTW) states are 3.2% lower than in non-RTW states. The rates of employer-sponsored health insurance and pensions are 2.6 and 4.8 percentage points lower in RTW states, respectively.

Jim Jordan has gone on record saying that he has always supported Right-to-Work laws, as he thinks it's about freedom. However, if one's work ends up compensating less and providing fewer benefits as a result of weaker unions, I don't think the freedom to not pay that agency fee counts for much.

Card Check

I support the card check policy of signing up for unions. This is a good alternative to secret ballot elections: and it takes coercive power out of employers' hands. For too long, corporations could threaten employees and force them to reject unions by running stern anti-union campaigns. A card check allows for people to sign up for a union without any campaigning - and more importantly, without fear of retribution. This is an essential part of ensuring that workers around Ohio have the ability to stand up for themselves and earn a decent living. Fair union elections are an important step in handing the power back to the people.