Ohio

Ohio Education Association Propaganda Shows Union’s Low Opinion of Teachers

Organizations

The Ohio Education Association (OEA) recently added a “Why No Rights at Work is Wrong” page of retooled We Are Ohio propaganda to the union’s website, which is paid for with mandatory union dues. Based on the cartoonish talking points against workplace freedom, OEA bosses don’t think teachers are terribly bright.

A Media Trackers analysis of each union argument against workplace freedom follows.

OUR OPPONENTS ARE ATTACKING WORKING AND MIDDLE CLASS PEOPLE AGAIN

Our out-of-touch opponents are trying to deceive voters again like they did last year. This is worse than SB 5. It doesn’t have to be this way. The so-called, trick-titled “right to work” is WRONG because it is an unsafe and unfair attack on workers’ rights, good jobs, families and the middle class. We call it No Rights at Work is Wrong and we don’t need it.

The phrase “so-called, trick-titled ‘right to work’ is WRONG” comes directly from We Are Ohio, a “citizen-driven, community-based, bipartisan coalition” funded almost exclusively by labor unions. Based on campaign finance filings with the secretary of state, OEA contributed more than $6.5 million to We Are Ohio in 2011.

Unions spent over $40 million to secure the repeal of Senate Bill 5 (SB 5), a 304-page collection of reforms to Ohio’s public employee union law. Though the amendment to the Ohio Constitution proposed by Ohioans for Workplace Freedom is completely different from SB 5, OEA is obviously eager to associate the two in members’ minds.

Who are OEA’s “out-of-touch opponents”? SB 5 was passed by Republican legislators, but Ohioans for Workplace Freedom is a citizen initiative.

In what sense is workplace freedom “worse than SB 5″? OEA follows its summary of unfounded assertions with four brief bullet lists.

IT’S UNFAIR

  • If you work hard and play the rules, you should be treated fairly
  • You should be able to earn a fair wage for a hard day’s work
  • RTW is unfair because it degrades the value of hard work and the worker

OEA, which opposes merit pay and supports last-in-first-out firing policies, does not explain how workplace freedom results in unfair treatment. Without ever admitting it, OEA suggests that teachers forced to pay OEA $431 per year should celebrate their lack of choice in the matter.

The union does not explain how letting workers choose whether to pay union dues results in unfair wages. Nor does the union explain how letting workers choose whether to pay union dues “degrades the value of hard work and the worker”

To be sure, forced unionism has been kind to OEA. Union president Patricia Frost-Brooks was paid $267,916 in the most recent fiscal year; a total of 119 OEA staff and officers were paid over $100,000 in member dues during the same period.

IT IS AN ATTACK ON WORKERS’ RIGHTS

  • RTW strips workers of their collective bargaining rights
  • Voters have spoken on this issue: they support collective bargaining rights
  • Workers should be able to speak up for themselves, their coworkers and their community on the job

Workplace freedom protects the right of workers to choose whether they will pay union bosses like the ones at OEA, period. To describe recognition of this right as “an attack on workers’ rights” is the very definition of Orwellian.

Voters have not “spoken on this issue,” and in fact OEA avoids the actual issue – forced unionism – entirely. Ohio has not voted on workplace freedom since the 1950s, and OEA aims to keep that trend alive.

In what respect does workers’ ability “to speak up for themselves” hinge on being forced to pay union dues? OEA does not say.

These bald-faced lies indicate how desperate OEA is to obscure the simple truth: OEA is a business that teachers across the state are currently required to support.

IT HURTS JOBS/COMMUNITY

  • RTW means lower wages and fewer benefits for you, me, all of us
  • We need good paying jobs for working and middle-class Ohioans
  • Communities thrive and grow when Ohioans have good paying jobs

OEA presents no evidence that workplace freedom “means lower wages and fewer benefits.” Like so many of the union’s talking points, this is something OEA apparently expects teachers to repeat without question.

In reality, 6 of 22 workplace freedom states had higher average wages than Ohio in 2011. If 2001-2011 trends persist, 5 more workplace freedom states will have higher average wages than Ohio by 2021.

Job growth in every workplace freedom state outpaced job growth in forced-unionism Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania from 1991-2011, based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

For more about the “good paying jobs” OEA is concerned about, refer to the 25 OEA staff and officers paid more than $150,000 in fiscal year 2012.

IT’S UNSAFE

  • It makes it harder to collectively bargain for life-saving equipment, staffing and other safety issues for the brave men and women that protect us, like police officers and firefighters
  • It takes away the professional voices of those we trust to take care of our children and families, such as teachers and nurses

Again, workplace freedom simply means workers can choose whether to pay union bosses. OEA does not explain how giving workers this choice limits collective bargaining privileges or “takes away the professional voices” of workers.

It is wrong because it means less money, lower wages and fewer benefits for you, me and all of us in the middle class. Communities thrive and grow when Ohioans have good paying jobs. Let’s stand up together and stick together for a decent standard of living.

We Deserve It.

OEA’s populist theatrics notwithstanding, over 100 of the union’s staff and officers are paid six figures in mandatory union dues taken from teachers across Ohio.

The Ohio Education Association is not arguing for “workers’ rights,” “good jobs,” “families,” or “the middle class.” The Ohio Education Association forces educators across the state to pay dues as a condition of employment, and seeks to maintain that status quo at any cost.

In the words of OEA bosses, “We Deserve It.”

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