Matt Mayer of the Buckeye Institute and I probably don’t agree on a lot of issues politically, but from our engagements on issues, I’ve grown to respect him. But lately, the Koch money his organization receives has caused him to put out some pro-SB 5 material that wouldn’t be acceptable in a high school debate class.
Lately, he put out something called “Five More Myths About Collective Bargaining and SB 5.” Perhaps I misunderstood the purpose. Ordinarily, such documents suggest that something the other side says is a myth, and then the writer makes a factually-based argument why that statement isn’t really true. He seemed to have gotten it backwards. Here’s what he says:
Myth #11: Collective bargaining is a constitutional right.
Reality: Big Labor and their allies like to portray collective bargaining as a constitutional right and that the loss of it is akin to losing a right that is fundamental to America. A careful reading of the U.S. Constitution and the Ohio Constitution easily refutes that notion, as such a right is nowhere to be found among the Bill of Rights. In fact, you cannot even find a U.S. Supreme Court or Ohio Supreme Court case making such a claim (even among the penumbras and emanations.)
First, there’s the U.S. Constitutional provisions about the freedom of contract and the freedom association. But hey, Matt didn’t say find a lawyer; he said find a U.S. Supreme Court case:
“That is a fundamental right. Employees have as clear a right to organize and select their representatives for lawful purposes as the respondent has to organize its business and select its own officers and agents. Discrimination and coercion to prevent the free exercise of the right of employees to self-organization and representation is a proper subject for condemnation by competent legislative authority. Long ago we stated the reason for labor organizations. We said that they were organized out of the necessities of the situation; that a single employee was helpless in dealing with an employer; that he was dependent ordinarily on his daily wage for the maintenance of himself and family; that, if the employer refused to pay him the wages that he thought fair, he was nevertheless unable to leave the employ and resist arbitrary and unfair treatment; that union was essential to give laborers opportunity to deal on an equality with their employer.”
—NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. (1937), 301 U.S. 1, 33.
It took me less than a minute to find this U.S. Supreme Court majority opinion…. and I was on the phone at the time talking about a different matter.
Matt then engages in red-baiting McCarthyism that suggests that if you oppose unions you have Jefferson and Madison on your side. If you support unions, you are on the side of Marx and Lenin. You know what unions were called in colonial times? Guilds, and they were hardly shunned in American colonial history, they were a vital part of the American colonial political system leading to the Revolution. In fact, several unions still refer to themselves as Guild such as the Screenactors Guild or the Newspaper Guild.
Myth #12: Necessary cuts can be made within the collective bargaining scheme.
Mayer’s entire basis for claiming that this is a myth is he suggests there is no evidence that unions were willing to make cuts before SB 5. He analogize this to slowing down when a police cruiser is seen. But the Strickland Administration was able to obtain concessions well before SB 5. Same thing at the local level. Mayer is suffering from ideologically-induced amnesia.
Myth #13: Ohio has a revenue problem.
Matt’s entire argument is that Ohio’s spending has exploded, so there’s no revenue problem. However, even if you accept everything Matt says about spending, it still doesn’t address the issue that our current budget problem is because the Republicans went on a careless tax cutting spree without making cuts in spending to pay for them. In fact, Mayer’s facts just make what the GOP did sound even more irresponsible.
Here’s a crazy thought, maybe Ohio had both a revenue and spending problem during GOP rule where it cut taxes and spent recklessly! I don’t understand why conservatives say our energy policy needs an “all of the above response,” but our budgetary problems require only one side of the ledger response.
Myth #14: A majority of teachers work large numbers of uncompensated time.
Matt’s entire theory of why this is a “myth?” He cannot believe that unions would allow their members to work without pay. No facts to refute. Just he can’t believe that teachers actually do work during the summer.
Myth #15: Big Labor and its allies would have agreed to minor reforms.
This is an academic exercise because the Kasich Administration never made any serious attempt to bring labor organizations and its allies to the table. The entire process was done in a way to exclude them. The bill was drafted in secret and largely revised in secret.
Sorry, Matt, but your “myths” is lazy, uninspired, and factually incorrect. Better luck next time.
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