AFSCME Boss: Freedom is Slavery, Forced Unionism is Like Universal Suffrage

Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) Executive Director Joe Rugola, who compared workplace freedom to Nazism during a May 1 press conference, also likened workplace freedom to slavery and suggested forced unionism is like universal suffrage, Ohio Capital Blog video shared by Marc Kovac reveals.

While watching the following clip, keep in mind that OAPSE – an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) – paid Rugola $253,351 in dues last year. Rugola’s comments began around the 1 minute mark, after Rep. Tracy Maxwell Heard (D-Columbus) lied that workplace freedom backers “want to eliminate collective bargaining.”

Rugola, Rep. Heard, and Rep. Debbie Phillips (D-Albany) all repeated a common progressive sleight of hand, complaining that workers can already decline union membership to avoid paying dues. Without workplace freedom, non-members in unionized workplaces can be forced to pay “fair share” fees equaling up to 90 percent of member dues, typically hundreds of dollars per year.

Currently, Ohioans can request a refund of “fair share” fees not used for representation purposes – if they wish to undertake a lengthy legal process guaranteed to draw the ire of union bosses.

Defending this status quo, Rugola said, “the last time I checked, states weren’t allowed to opt out on universal suffrage, and ignore, you know, the amendment to the Constitution that granted women the right to vote – that was a decision made by a democratic process and a majority vote.”

Rugola continued, “States can’t undo the amendment to the Constitution that eliminated slavery in this country, just because on a whim they might want to do so.”

“So, the bottom line is, that we’re all obligated by democratic principles to accept the decisions of majorities. And in our case, when our workers make these choices, it’s done – again – by majority vote, and they’re all offered the opportunity to undo that decision by majority vote any time that they want to,” Rugola said, neglecting to mention that it takes 30 percent of workers in a bargaining unit just to initiate a decertification vote.

Public school employees hired into districts organized by OAPSE must choose between contributing to Rugola’s $253,351 salary or finding a new job, based purely on the fact that their predecessors voted to unionize.

“So I think it’s important that we remember that if there’s somebody standing up for freedom, it’s probably the folks in this room and the trade union movement, not the extreme right-wing folks who want to eliminate the right to make democratic choices that will then cover the majority of workers,” Rugola lied.

Workplace freedom would in no way limit workers’ collective bargaining privileges, and would neither prevent unionization nor make it more difficult for any Ohioan to join a labor union.

At the same presser, Rugola demolished his attempt to equate forced unionism with democracy while comparing the fact that a majority of Americans support workplace freedom with the fact that Nazis controlled Germany in the 1930s.

Rugola’s remarks in the next clip began shortly after the 30 second mark, following several cherry-picked data points from Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga:

“If you wanna see which states are generally poor, unhealthy, undereducated, underfed, then go to the right to work states,” Rugola insisted.

For Joe Rugola, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data showing more job creation, wage growth, and disposable income growth in workplace freedom states than in Ohio are inconveniences to brush off with union propaganda bellowed at high volume.

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