Media Trackers uncovered several facts about “citizen-driven, community-based bipartisan coalition” We Are Ohio during 2013 which should confirm beyond question that We Are Ohio is a union front group.
When legacy media reporters identify We Are Ohio as “a coalition of Democrats and union supporters” or with any other inaccurately broad description, keep the following in mind.
- We Are Ohio is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit. Based on We Are Ohio’s 2012 filing with the IRS, every member of the nonprofit’s executive committee is a union boss:
- Internally, Ohio’s unions acknowledged from the start that We Are Ohio was a union campaign group and not a “citizen-driven, community-based bipartisan coalition.” A copy of a spring 2011 Ohio Education Association (OEA) affiliate’s newsletter obtained by Media Trackers confirmed this:
- “No Rights at Work” was We Are Ohio’s anti-workplace freedom slogan for 2013, but the group couldn’t name a single right workplace freedom would take away when asked to do so at a February press conference. We Are Ohio abruptly pulled the plug on the presser and rolled out a new anti-workplace freedom catchphrase soon after.
- All 17 of We Are Ohio’s 2013 “Protect Ohio Workers’ Rights” anti-workplace freedom events were held in union halls; the propaganda campaign was coordinated by OEA, Ohio AFL-CIO, and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) local Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA).
- We Are Ohio broke state law by failing to report OEA, Ohio AFL-CIO, and OCSEA contributions in its 2013 semiannual filing with the secretary of state. After Media Trackers filed an Ohio Elections Commission (OEC) complaint, the union front amended its filing to show that all three unions gave We Are Ohio office space and staff time.
- Until his resignation from the teachers union in December 2013, OEA Executive Director Larry Wicks led We Are Ohio. This was confirmed by the IRS filing shown above, by We Are Ohio’s November 2013 response to the Media Trackers OEC complaint, and by OEA’s job posting for a new executive director.
- OEA’s posting for a new executive director also proved that the state’s most powerful labor union plans to remain in control of We Are Ohio, noting that the executive director position “currently includes a leadership role in a bipartisan coalition of public and private sector labor organizations.”
- With January 2013 – June 2013 contributions to We Are Ohio from AFL-CIO headquarters in DC outweighing all other donations by a ratio of 896:1, the latest available campaign finance data show that We Are Ohio has received over 95 percent of its reportable political action committee funding from union bosses.