Ohio union law repeal

November 9th, 2011

Economics professor Peter Doeringer, an authority on labor relations and work organization, offers his view on Ohio voters’ repeal of the collective bargaining restriction law:

“The referendum results in Ohio should not be surprising.

“National opinion polls have long shown that a majority of American’s approve of unions, albeit by a smaller margin in recent years, and overwhelmingly favor allowing public sector workers to have collective bargaining rights.

“Since over half of all union members now work in the public sector and 45% work in state and local government, the center of gravity for collective bargaining now and in the foreseeable future lies with state and particularly local governments and their unions.

“Unlike the private sector, where there are national policies governing union organizing, collective bargaining, and rights to strike, state and local collective bargaining policies are reserved to states. The result is a patchwork of bargaining rights that reflect the political balance in 50 different state jurisdictions and the particular bargaining circumstances of thousands of state, county, and municipal governments.

“Decentralized bargaining in the public sector means that public sector collective bargaining can be fine-tuned to meet local needs and priorities. The contrasting outcomes in Ohio and Wisconsin are a reminder of how much local politics matter even among similarly unionized states in the same region with governors from the same political party.”

Contact Doeringer at 617-358-0571; doeringe@bu.edu

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