Right to Work Ordinance Introduced in Sussex County - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Right to Work Ordinance Introduced in Sussex County

Posted: 10/31/2017 19:10:00 -04:00 Updated:

SUSSEX COUNTY, Del. - A right to work ordinance that would outlaw mandatory union membership and allow people to opt out of paying union dues was introduced amid much opposition on Tuesday.

Sussex County Councilman Rob Arlett introduced the ordinance, saying he believes the issue deserves a public hearing and possible action. Arlett says one benefit to the potential ordinance would be attracting new business.

"Without a right to work ordinance, it is a fact that companies will not even look at you. Will not," he says. "So I look forward to that public dialogue and I think that information will come forward from those who have the educated knowledge," he says.

Tuesday morning's meeting was standing room only, with union members from around the region coming to oppose the measure. John Rodriguez, a local representative for food and commercial workers, was one of them.

"[If it passes] we kind of get a free rider scenario in which union members would either choose to or not to pay union dues," he says. "Which becomes detrimental to the kind of power and services we have to offer our members including collective bargaining agreements and contracts on their behalf, wage issues, safety [...] and things of that sort."

Rodriguez says the importance of unions has been underscored over the course of American history.

"Whether it be child labor laws or 40 hour work weeks or OSHA implementing laws or overtime after 40 hours, those have all been fights that started with the union," he says. "So essentially unions have molded what it means to be a worker here in the U.S. today."

Arlett says the effort is not anti-union as people such as Rodriguez believe.

"This is not an anti union effort. As a matter of fact i want unions to grow," he says. "When there are new companies coming into this county and new people getting hired, there's new opportunities for unions to explore new membership."

The next step for the ordinance is a public hearing. After that, council would take a vote whether to change, pass or deny the ordinance or not. Those who spoke today did so during the regular public comment period of the meeting. Arlett hopes to have the public hearing and possible action on the ordinance before the end of the year. 

The ordinance can be found in the county council meeting's public packet

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