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‘Even During A Pandemic,’ Union-Busting ‘Doesn’t Stop:’ Right Wing, Out-Of-State Funders Bankroll Anti-Union Campaigns In The State Of Ohio

Published Wednesday, May 20, 2020
by David Armiak/
‘Even During A Pandemic,’ Union-Busting ‘Doesn’t Stop:’ Right Wing, Out-Of-State Funders Bankroll Anti-Union Campaigns In The State Of Ohio

(THE STATE OF OHIO) - The two organizations leading the fight to defund Public Employee Unions in Ohio are being bankrolled by many of the same deep-pocket out-of-state funders tied to big corporations and billionaires, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has found.

A CMD investigation found that the two groups, the Buckeye Institute and the Freedom Foundation, received more than $9 million from 11 common out-of-state funders between 2014 and 2018.  Funding information for 2019 is not yet available.

The Columbus-based Buckeye Institute, with $3.4 million in annual revenue, and the Washington-based Freedom Foundation, with $6 million in annual revenue, have been at the forefront of a coordinated attack on Public Sector Unions across the country.

After focusing efforts on the West Coast for years, the Freedom Foundation launched operations in Ohio in early November last year, with a mission "to limit the undue influence of Government Unions over our political system."

On March 27th, the Freedom Foundation used the Coronavirus Pandemic in the state as an opportunity to advocate for defunding of Ohio Public Unions through a "three-month suspension on Public Sector Dues collections from Employee paychecks."

Ignoring the work Unions do to obtain fair wages, quality health care and benefits for its Members, Freedom Foundation CEO Tom McCabe stated: "Governor (Mike) DeWine has a great opportunity here to take immediate action that would help a lot of people in need."

McCabe also asked the Governors of California, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington - as well as the Federal Government, to do the same.

Then, on May 1s - International Workers' Day, the Freedom Foundation delivered 462 letters to Governor Mike DeWine on behalf of Public Employees who want to resign from their Unions and stop having Union Dues deducted from their paychecks.

The Buckeye Institute has touted that it was "the first organization in the country to file lawsuits calling on courts to end compelled exclusive representation following the Janus decision."

Janus is a reference to the U.S. Supreme Court's June 2018 Janus vs. AFSCME decision, which held that Public Sector Unions could no longer require individuals in a Bargaining Unit who did not want to be Members of the Union to pay Agency or "Fair Share" Fees.

Fair Share Fees compensate Unions, which are required by law to represent all Workers in a Bargaining Unit, for their efforts to obtain higher wages and improve working conditions.

That controversial ruling was the culmination of decade-long, multi-million dollar campaign to cripple Unions mounted by Corporate Interests, Right Wing Foundations and Conservative Think Tanks, CMD previously reported in In These Times.

So far, Buckeye has lost its legal challenges to laws in Ohio, Minnesota and Maine requiring a public employer to negotiate exclusively with a Democratically-elected Union Representative for better wages and benefits once the Union has been certified as a Bargaining Unit, CMD reported.

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