Republican lawmakers in Ohio still want to restrict unions, but they’ll face an uphill battle with new Speaker Larry Householder.
Unions backed Householder’s bid to lead the Ohio House of Representatives over former Speaker Ryan Smith. They donated money to his campaign and lobbied Democrats to support him.
That’s because Householder, R-Perry County, supports their principles, said Ohio AFL-CIO president Tim Burga.
“Speaker Householder for a long time in public service has supported the prevailing wage law,” Burga told The Enquirer on Tuesday.
An early test of those ideals could be House Bill 78, which would eliminate the requirement that local governments, universities and other entities such as water and sewer districts pay wages negotiated with unions for construction projects. The practice, called prevailing wage, was enacted in 1931.
“I believe in capitalism. Prevailing wage is a small form of socialism,” one of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Craig Riedel, R-Defiance, said during a Tuesday news conference.
Proponents of limiting prevailing wage say union negotiations drive up the price of projects, spending more taxpayer dollars.
But Householder says it’s the “wrong direction.”