Unions expected to protest ‘Right to Work’ in West Chester

An overflow crowd of union workers converged on the West Chester township trustee meeting earlier this month to protest a plan to make the township a “Right to Work” place. West Chester Twp. trustees now plan to hold a special meeting on the topic of “Right to Work.” GREG LYNCH / STAFF

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An overflow crowd of union workers converged on the West Chester township trustee meeting earlier this month to protest a plan to make the township a “Right to Work” place. West Chester Twp. trustees now plan to hold a special meeting on the topic of “Right to Work.” GREG LYNCH / STAFF

Hundreds of union workers and representatives are planning to converge on a West Chester Twp. trustee meeting tonight to protest a “Right to Work” proposal, but only people with direct ties to the township will be allowed to speak.

Explore MORE: 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 however could make the issue moot, at least for now.

Trustee George Lang said he plans to announce early in the meeting he wants the “Right to Work” issue put on hold until the federal court — at the request of unions — decides if it will reconsider the decision.

The proposal, which has sparked a spate of controversy for the township, is to pass a resolution that would prohibit private unions from forcing union membership and dues-paying, has not gone into practice in the township and won’t imminently, but people from around Ohio and other states have come to protest.

Explore WATCH: Union members protest at West Chester trustees meeting

Non-residents couldn’t comment at the last township meeting, but Carmen Henderson-Chavis, with the Ohio Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust construction union, went to the Butler County commissioners Monday to ask for their help.

If passed, she told commissioners, Right to Work “lowers wages for everybody whether you are in a union or not.”

“I wanted to let you all know that we need your help or your support or your consideration regarding this issue,” she said. “Because we believe that Right to Work is wrong.”

Commissioner T.C. Rogers told the Journal-News that the county has no business interfering with other jurisdictions.

“We do not get into the management of an individual township,” he said.

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