Union Aces: Communists and Jesse Jackson

Tuesday is bound to be an exciting day at the Ohio statehouse, with an alphabet soup of unions, Organizing for America, and every other leftist group you can name hauling their members downtown to demand that taxpayers prop up public unions into perpetuity. Wednesday will be fun, too, with the AFL-CIO, Ohio Federation of Teachers, and Progress Ohio flying beloved non-huckster Jesse Jackson into town!

What do the unions hate about Senate Bill 5 (other than “everything”)?

The radical measure to abolish the right, established in 1984, of public employees to bargain over wages, hours, working conditions, health care, and pensions, would also eliminate seniority as a basis for pay increases and layoffs, increase employee contributions to health care and pensions, abolish the right to strike and allow the state to permanently replace workers who do strike.

Sometimes knowing who supports a cause can tell you a lot about it; that quote, for instance, is from Communist Party USA. Note the conflation of union power with workers’ rights, and ask yourself whether the union position differs from the Communist Party’s in any way.

I’ve already thrashed the talking points from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which are thin gruel given the AFSCME’s massive budget. What lines are Ohio Education Association (OEA) bosses feeding the union’s membership? Here are the first 5 from an email sent out last week:

Teachers did not create the recession and stripping us of our rights won’t fix it. Stop fighting partisan battles of the past and stop the scapegoat of public employees.

So much wrong in two sentences. Fine, public employees didn’t create the recession – does that mean unionization is a net positive? The rights-stripping bit sounds awful, until you remember the unions must keep teachers dependent in order to get paid. The “partisan battles” stuff is a non-starter: the OEA had no trouble with partisan battles during the 2010 election cycle, when they were spending $1.6 million to keep their politicians in office.

SB5 will make teaching unattractive and will make it difficult for Ohio schools to attract and retain high quality teachers.

Unemployment in Ohio is above 9%. State records show 1,460 people paid more than $75,000 – plus benefits – in Columbus City Schools in 2010. 1,109 were paid over $75k in the Cleveland Metro district. 533 were paid over $75k in Cincinnati City Schools. Those numbers aside, has the OEA ever complained about high tax rates driving citizens away?

Collective bargaining works and is good for kids. It allows two groups to come together and discuss issues and come to a consensus on those issues. Teacher’s working conditions are student learning conditions.

Collective bargaining works for the unions. What would prevent teachers from discussing and resolving issues with their districts in the absence of richly compensated OEA officials?

States with strong unions and collective bargaining laws have higher ranked education systems than those who don’t.

Citation? Based on what metrics? How much higher ranked? At what cost? If I buy a $125,000 car, it’s probably going to be faster than one that costs $15,000. Fat lot of good it does me when I can’t make the payments.

Educators, like all public employees, are an integral part of the fabric of Ohio’s communities. Senate Bill 5 weakens Ohio. Rather than creating jobs, this legislation will hurt local communities, reversing Ohio’s positive economic outlook.

This one is repeated proudly by government unions from sea to bankrupt sea, and it’s my absolute favorite. Where do public employee salaries come from? If Ohio raises taxes to prevent pay cuts and gird unsustainable defined-benefit pensions, every dollar will come from a company or individual who would’ve spent or invested it without the unions skimming off the top. Dollars do not become more valuable simply because the government has moved them around.

The OEA must realize they won’t get enough mileage out of “but we’re really not paid that much!” in the current climate, so they mix in some Economics for Socialists to add a veneer of fiscal responsibility. With a little luck, Ohio’s Senate GOP will vote like grownups, recognizing the current temper tantrum as all bark – and SB 5 will remove the unions’ teeth.

Let’s close with this cheerful rally recap from Communist Party USA (emphasis mine):

[…] the unions answered by printing up and wearing red t-shirts reading “No on SB 5” and “Kill the Bill” at the third hearing, and shouting “Red means No” as rightwing Tea Party representatives testified on the need to curtail “big government.”

I’d probably avoid red altogether if I were a Communist, but hey, I’m a buzzkill.

Cross-posted at Third Base Politics and Columbus Tea Party.