Unions Rely on “Citizen-Driven” We Are Ohio to Block Workplace Freedom
The union campaign against letting workers choose whether to pay union bosses is being driven by labor front We Are Ohio, with powerful unions parroting the group’s propaganda and steering members to its events. We Are Ohio nonetheless maintains that it is “a citizen-driven, community-based bipartisan coalition.”
“The tea party, greedy corporations and extreme politicians in Ohio have made it clear that they are committed to putting So-Called ‘right to work’ (SCRTW) or ‘The American Workplace Freedom Act’ legislation on the ballot as soon as they can,” the Ohio AFL-CIO website warns – using We Are Ohio’s “SCRTW” acronym on a page whose web address includes the phrase “No Rights At Work,” the previous We Are Ohio slogan.
“Join us to hear the truth about the unsafe, unfair, so-called ‘right to work’ laws,” the state AFL-CIO chapter wrote in an April 10 announcement imploring members to attend one of We Are Ohio’s “urgent member meetings.”
The story featured a co-branded We Are Ohio/Ohio AFL-CIO graphic for the Protect Ohio Workers’ Rights (POWR) events We Are Ohio is holding in union halls across the state.
“Join us starting next week at our Urgent Member Meetings to hear from labor leaders about the unsafe, unfair and deceitful attack on the middle class called Right to Work,” the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA), an American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) local, announced on April 17 with a link to We Are Ohio’s POWR events.
Within hours of the April 30 announcement that State Representative Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) and Rep. Ron Maag (R-Lebanon) plan to introduce two workplace freedom bills in the Ohio House, OCSEA was encouraging members to share new co-branded We Are Ohio/OCSEA graphics opposing workplace freedom.
As Media Trackers previously reported, the Ohio Education Association (OEA) announced on April 14 that it was “partnering with We Are Ohio in a series of Urgent Member Meetings” about workplace freedom. We Are Ohio began advertising the events later that week.
The euphemism that OEA is “partnering” with We Are Ohio is clearly meant to maintain the facade of We Are Ohio as an independent “citizen-driven” group. OEA is the largest donor to We Are Ohio, which has received more than 95 percent of its funding from OEA, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, and other labor unions.
Furthermore, nearly half of the “community-based” organization’s funding has come from unions outside Ohio.
“So-called right to work isn’t what it seems,” the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) warned on a registration page advertising We Are Ohio’s POWR events. “It’s wrong for all workers and the middle class. — Right to Work is just another attempt by corporate interests to tip the balance even more in their favor at the expense of the middle class.”
Workplace freedom is a vital issue for union bosses, who must make greater efforts to provide value to members in states where workers can opt out of the union without being forced to pay “fair share” fees typically amounting to 90 percent of member dues.
Why would the most powerful progressive groups in the state defer to a “citizen-driven, community-based bipartisan coalition” for counterattacks on what they perceive as a terrifying threat? Because We Are Ohio is, as it has been since its creation, a union front group.