COLUMBUS: Ohio Republicans have whiffed twice in their crusade to cripple organized labor.

At least a few of them want to try again in 2020. If that happens, they’ll likely swing and miss one more time. Along the way, they could unintentionally help the state’s beleaguered Democrats and whomever Democrats nominate for president two years from now.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Republican state representatives Craig Reidel of Defiance and John Becker of Union Township near Cincinnati want to put six anti-union amendments before voters in 2020.

The proposals would prohibit union shops — workplaces where employees are required to join a union or pay union dues — for private and public sector workers.

The other proposals would apply only to public employees. They would eliminate the use of the prevailing wage, ban project labor agreements that favor union labor, prohibit union dues from being deducted from public employees’ pay, require an employee’s consent to use union dues for political purposes and mandate regular union recertification.

Republicans and their allies in business first went after organized labor in 1958 with a right-to-work ballot proposal to eliminate “union shops” where all workers were required to join unions or pay dues.

Akron’s Ray Bliss, then Republican state chairman, warned that the plan would rile up not just union members but also their families and friends and send them to the polls in big numbers.

He was right.

The issue went down, 63 percent to 37 percent, and just one Republican won a statewide office.

Voters’ sentiment apparently hadn’t changed much by 2011 — 53 years later. Union supporters voted 62 percent to 38 percent to repeal a law crippling public employee unions.

By 2011, Republicans had learned one thing — not to advocate anti-union legislation in years when candidates for president, statewide office or both would be on the ballot.

The new plan even ignores that lesson and could mean trouble for President Donald Trump if he seeks re-election or for another Republican candidate if Trump isn’t on the presidential ballot.

Ohio is considered a must-win state for Republicans. No Republican has been elected president without carrying Ohio. It wouldn’t be a good idea for the GOP to anger union members and their allies and send them galloping to the polls.

A more basic question is why union foes would even bother with another anti-union plan. Unions, to say the least, are not the powerhouses they were in the 1950s when about one in every three workers belonged to a union.

In 2017, just 10.7 percent of all workers were union members, according to researchers Barry T. Hirsch and David Macpherson. Membership in Ohio was a little better, with 12.5 percent membership.

The statistics were especially grim for the once mighty private sector unions representing auto, steel and rubber workers, with just 6.5 percent membership nationally and 7.9 percent in Ohio.

Organized labor’s strength these days is in the public sector, with about 34 percent nationally and nearly 43 percent in Ohio.

Union foes in Ohio tried to destroy these unions representing teachers, firefighters, police and others in 2011, and it didn’t work very well.

If they try again, it’s at their own peril.

Hershey is a former Washington correspondent and Columbus bureau chief for the Beacon Journal. He also was the Columbus bureau chief of the Dayton Daily News. He is the co-author, with John C. Green, of Mr. Chairman: The Life and Times of Ray C. Bliss. He can be reached at hershey_william@hotmail.com.