Political Director of Ohio AFL-CIO Jason Perlman spoke about right-to-work laws and their effect on Ohio at the Seneca County Democratic Executive Committee meeting Thursday.
Perlman said under the right-to-work law, anyone in a unionized workplace may automatically become a union member but does not have to pay dues and the union is required to represent the individual the same as those who pay dues.
Individuals not in the union also have the right to sue the union if they feel they are not being represented fairly.
He also said getting rid of unions would eliminate competition between businesses for higher pay.
"If you've got a good job at a factory ... that brings $20, $25 an hour, guess what the next factory has to pay? Twenty-five dollars an hour, because they've got to attract a good workforce, too," he said. "But now if you take away the union and that job goes from a $30-an-hour to a $12-an-hour job, guess what happens to every other job around town? It all goes to minimum wage."
He said that although he appreciated President Barack Obama's attempt to raise the minimum wage, it would not help to rebuild the middle class.
At this point, families have to decide whether it is worth sending children to college, Perlman said.
"That's not a conversation that the wealthiest country in the history of the world should have to have," he said.
He said that if Gov. John Kasich pushes the right-to-work bill forward, it would create a two-tiered class system, completely eliminating the middle class.
He also said Kasich said businesses would come to Ohio if the right-to-work law was passed.
"My argument back is, start naming the right-to-work states, and see if that's the kind of state you want to be," he said. In those states, such as Tennessee and Louisiana, he said there is no public funding generated from the tax base to provide for schools.
"The states that businesses go to are states that have quality education, quality infrastructure and a place where they know they can grow," he said.
Perlman said the only way to fight the right-to-work law was education. He said buying locally would help keep money and jobs local.
"We have choices when it comes to how we spend our money," he said. "If everybody in the state bought two things that were made locally that they weren't going to buy before, how that could start creating jobs again locally for us."
In other business, it was announced:
The 58th Annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner is to be held Oct. 24 at the New Riegel American Legion. Social hour is to begin at 6 p.m. with dinner at 6:30 p.m.
The keynote speaker is Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern and the committee is to honor Democrats Marguerite Bernard and Joe Granata.
The cost is $25 per person. Reservations must be received by Oct. 18. To make a reservation, contact Mary Puffenburger at (419) 618-8707.
An informational workshop for seniors is to be held Nov. 12 at Somerset Reception Center.
Sam Burnett from the National Advisory Committee for Social Security to provide more information about Social Security during the workshop. Also to speak are Rod Farnsworth from Northwest Ohio Informed Citizens, discussing scams that target seniors, and Ohio Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans Bentley Davis.
Lunch is at 11:30 a.m and costs $3.50. Participants 60 and older eat free. Speakers are expected to begin at 12:15 p.m.