‘Right to Work’ on hold in West Chester Twp.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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A union worker talks about his opposition to Right to

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Unions from throughout the region converged Tuesday on a trustee meeting to protest West Chester Twp.'a proposal that would make the township a "Right to Work" place, but a development in the federal court case could make their concerns unfounded.

The Journal-News broke news earlier this month that West Chester Twp. Trustee George Lang planned to institute a “Right to Work” designation for the township, which means private unions can’t force workers to join or pay dues. Lang said taking that stance would make West Chester Twp. a magnet for manufacturing and other jobs.

ExploreMORE: West Chester trustees want Right to Work resolution

A recent federal appeals court opinion opened up “Right to Work” status to cities and limited home rule townships. Previously only states — there are 26 of them and Ohio is not one — had the ability to make that designation.

But a new development in the court case that allowed the township to consider adopting the designation could make the issue moot, at least for now.

The unions have asked the federal court to reconsider the opinion on the matter and hold an “en banc” hearing of all 15 judges on the circuit.

“I recommend we hold that special meeting conversation until we get finality from the Sixth Circuit,” Lang said. “This may take six weeks. It may take two years. At this point while everything is kind of up in the air I think it would be futile for us to move forward with Right to Work.”

The trustees decided to hold off on a special meeting they had planned to schedule on the hot topic.

The township building was bursting at the seams with hundreds of people packing the meeting room, lining the walls and crowded into the lobby area. The trustees still allowed West Chester residents business and property owners to speak out on the issue during two citizens comment sections of the meeting.

William Stoekel told the trustees West Chester Twp. doesn’t need Right to Work.

“West Chester has top notch teachers and incredible police and fire departments and many companies already operating in the township,” he said. “West Chester is a great township and we don’t need gimmicks like Right to Work.”

Earlier this month, Lang told the Journal-News that establishing the township as a “Right to Work” place would make it attractive to businesses.

“I believe it is going to show this community that West Chester is open for business, we mean it, we stand behind our businesses and we will continue to dominate the market from an economic development perspective. It’s going to make us more attractive to businesses…” township Trustee George Lang said. “And I happen to believe wholeheartedly that prosperity is America’s birthright.”

Board President Mark Welch concurred.

“There is a ton of evidence that says that companies would rather relocate and build their business in Right to Work states,” Welch said. “I think we should move ahead on this as quickly as possible and give potential manufacturers that are looking at Ohio or looking at the region, another reason to come to West Chester.”

Unions from Ohio and neighboring states marshalled their memberships and about 100 people descended on the trustee meeting two weeks ago. That meeting was raucous, and Tuesday’s event, albeit with many more people, was cordial and contained.

ExploreWATCH: Union members protest at West Chester trustees meeting

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