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Union dues fund anti-SB 5 fight



Published: Fri, September 2, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

Union dues fund anti-SB 5 fight

There has been a misconcep tion that union funds do not go toward supporting political activity unless those funds are given voluntarily to a union’s PAC or PCE. After taking some time to review the campaign finances of “We Are Ohio,” the primary opposer of Senate Bill 5, a few things jumped off the page at me right away.

Of the $5 million raised by “We Are Ohio,” $4.2 million came from the national labor unions in Washington, D.C. To clarify, this came from the unions and their general treasury, not their political action committee. The Secretary of State’s office confirmed to me that these contributions came directly from the unions and not their PACs. The idea that a union’s general treasury funds (that are generated in large part by dues) do not go toward political activity is inherently a lie.

For state certified ballot issues such as the S.B. 5 referendum, unions and corporations are not subject to the same contribution limits as they would be for support or opposition of a candidate. Since “We Are Ohio” is limited to spending money only on this issue, unions (and not their PACs) are allowed to give endlessly to this particular PAC. The catch, however, is “We Are Ohio” is limited to spending money on this issue only, and hence they cannot treat any remaining funds as a Democratic slush fund once this issue is voted on in November.

If you are a member of the SEIU, AFSCME, AAUP, or any union in the state of Ohio, your membership dues in some quantity are going toward the referendum on S.B. 5. In turn, your contribution to the referendum effort is not voluntary. The fact that S.B. 5 gives people the option to opt out of paying union dues in the public sector is the primary reason organized labor is fighting so hard to get rid of S.B. 5. It cuts their political funding

If the opposition did not have funding coming from the national labor unions, this referendum would have been dead on arrival. Unfortunately, the national unions have decided to meddle in state politics at the expense of their members who may or may not support this referendum.

Local state representatives have made accusations that the Republicans and corporations are trying to marginalize the middle class. What about the rights of union members to not have their dues go to causes they don’t support?

Alex Mangie, Canfield


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