Seth Harris, acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, was in Columbus Wednesday to participate in a roundtable discussion on immigration. But before arriving on the Ohio State University campus, he fielded some questions from Columbus Dispatch reporter, Joe Hallett, for his political blog: “The Daily Briefing.”

While Harris discussed the current status of immigration issues, he also responded to questions about the latest push to make Ohio a so-called right-to-work state. Here’s an excerpt from the blog:

Asked for his thoughts on a prospective ballot issue to make Ohio a So-Called right-to-work state — meaning that Ohio workers no longer would be required to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment — Harris said he thought that So-Called Right to Work was settled when 62 percent of Ohio voters backed the 2011 referendum to overturn Senate Bill 5, which would have gutted public-employee bargaining rights.

“There was a landslide of opposition to stripping collective bargaining rights of public employees and I think that evidences a deep reservoir of support in Ohio, and I think across the country, for collective bargaining,” Harris said. “The president has said, and he’s exactly right, that right-to-work means the right to work for less money, and right to work laws frankly have nothing to do with economic growth or economic recovery, they’re really about politics.”

“Taking away the rights of Ohioans to bargain for better wages and working conditions has a predictable effect. States that have right-to-work laws earn average benefits and wages that are $1,500 lower than comparable workers in non-right-to-work states and that’s true for both union and non-union workers because there’s a spillover effect. Particular groups are disadvantaged – women are disadvantaged, African Americans are disadvantaged, Latino workers are disadvantaged. It’s bad for the state. It’s a race to the bottom strategy and I frankly think Ohioans have spoken on this issue and frankly am surprised that after a landslide in support of collective bargaining that there would be an effort to attack collective bargaining again.”

To read the entire blog post, got to: http://dispatchpolitics.dispatch.com/content/blogs/the-daily-briefing/2013/04/acting-labor-secretary-to-join-osu-immigration-forum.html

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