West Chester weighs in on Ohio’s ‘right-to-work’ legislation

Peter McLinden, executive secretary-treasurer of Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council, holds an sign protesting “right to work” during a January West Chester Twp. trustee meeting. An overflow crowd of union workers converged on the meeting to protest a plan to make the township a “right-to-work” community. GREG LYNCH/STAFF
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Peter McLinden, executive secretary-treasurer of Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council, holds an sign protesting “right to work” during a January West Chester Twp. trustee meeting. An overflow crowd of union workers converged on the meeting to protest a plan to make the township a “right-to-work” community. GREG LYNCH/STAFF

West Chester Twp. trustees say it would be great if Ohio turned into a “right to work” state, because then the township wouldn’t have to.

Conservative Republican lawmakers are moving to make Ohio a “right to work” state where union power would be significantly diluted by making membership and dues optional.

MORE: ‘Right-to-work’ push under way in Ohio

“It goes back to workers’ choice for me, if the individual has a choice then they can determine whether or not or how much of dues they want to pay,” West Chester Twp. Trustee Board President Mark Welch said. “If you ask me, being a business guy, competition makes us better, it makes us work harder, it gives us a better product, better services… I think workers choice is a good thing, so if they do it we don’t have to.”

MORE: Raucous meeting over ‘right to work’

Trustees have put on hold plans to make West Chester a “right to work” place, pending a ruling in federal appeals court that allowed townships and cities — not just states — to adopt the designation.

RELATED: Township temporarily shelves ‘right to work’

“I think it’s great,” Trustee George Lang said about the state-level effort. “In West Chester …we are going to continue to explore the idea to see if it makes sense for regardless of what the state does, but obviously if the state does it would make our efforts moot…

Trustee Lee Wong, who opposed the measure, could not immediately be reached for comment.

MORE: Trustee chastised over ‘right to work’ issue

Hundreds of people from throughout the region packed into the township’s meeting room late last month to speak out on the “right to work” issue during two trustees meetings.

Explore WATCH: Union members protest at West Chester trustees 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.”

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