June 28, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Brunswick Council to vote on ‘right-to-work’

BRUNSWICK — City Council members are expected to take up a controversial resolution opposing making Ohio a “right-to-work” state at tonight’s meeting.

The resolution, introduced by Councilman Brian Ousley, at-large, is up for a third and final reading.

Ousley’s resolution has drawn opposition from the Brunswick Chamber of Commerce, which issued a press release last week stating it thinks the ordinance could make Brunswick appear “anti-business” and discourage companies from relocating in Brunswick.

“It’s baffling why our local governmental body would oppose the concept that people have a human right to work, or engage in productive employment, and should not be prevented from doing so,” the statement read.

The chamber also argued that “right-to-work” laws should be handled by state lawmakers not municipal elected officials.

A proposed “right-to-work” bill has been scuttled by the Republican leadership in the Ohio General Assembly.

But a petition drive is under way to put a “workplace freedom” state constitutional amendment before the voters would have the same effect by making it illegal for workers to be required to join unions and banning taking union dues directly out of paychecks.

Ousley has argued that right-to-work laws result in lower wages for workers.

In introducing his resolution, Ousley pointed to evidence from other states that show workers in right-to-work states make $5,000 less than workers in states that don’t have right-to-work laws.

“The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics states six out of 10 states with the highest unemployment have right-to-work laws in place,” said Ousley, a member of Laborer’s Local 310.

“In addition, they state the right-to-work states have 51 percent higher workplace fatalities.”

Also on the agenda today is the first reading of a resolution to put a 10-year, 1.2-mill road levy on the November ballot.

Council already approved a first resolution to authorize the county auditor to determine exactly what a levy would bring to the city. This new resolution would put the item on the November ballot.

The first vote on the levy resolution passed the council earlier this month by a vote of 6-1.

Council member Ron Falconi, at large, voted against the levy, saying he didn’t think Brunswick wanted more taxes.

Council members who supported the levy said it was lower than the 2.7-mill levy rejected by voters in 2011 and 2012. They also argued that the most recent attempt was only for a term of 10 years.

The road levy attempt in 2011 was a permanent levy and in 2012 the levy had a 20-year limit.

The 1.2 mill levy would bring in an estimated $836,828 per year, costing the homeowner of a home worth $150,000 an extra $56.70 per year.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or at lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.