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Think Tank Tells Ohio's Public Employees How To Quit Labor Unions

Jo Ingles
Statehouse News Bureau
The Buckeye Institute is distributing mailers informing public employees to not pay into unions.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued a landmark ruling that overturns 40 years of precedent and ends compelled union dues for public employees. Now, a right-leaning think tank is going a step further and mailing literature to make sure public employees in Ohio know they don’t have to pay into the union. 

A flier from Buckeye Institute promotes a website where workers can find information on how to quit paying union dues. The organization’s president, Robert Alt, says they deserve to know how to do that.

“What we’ve done is we have gone through all of the collective bargaining units throughout the state to provide the details they need to exercise their rights," Alt says.

Dennis Willard, a spokesman for a coalition of labor unions called “We Are Ohio,” calls this effort shameful.

“This is a concentrated, planned attack on working people being funded by billionaires like the Koch brothers and being carried out by their tools at the Buckeye Institute," Willard says.

The "Workers Choose" effort is being supported by the Americans For Prosperity Foundation, which was established by conservative billionaires David H. and Charles Koch.

Willard says if this effort persuades union members to quit, it will result in lower pay, weaken benefits and make working condition less safe for all workers.

In Ohio, 12.5 percent of workers are unionized, slightly higher than the U.S. average.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.