In their latest attempt to disguise their failed efforts at convincing us that a majority of Ohioans support the union-busting legislation in Ohio, John Kasich’s agent group, Building a Better Ohio has teamed up with some unhappy Tea Party teachers and filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court against the Ohio Education Association and some of its affiliates, including a local association to which they have absolutely no connection.
On the day after Better Ohio lost their argument (presented by attorney Donald Brey) in front of the Ohio Ballot Board to try and have the Senate Bill 5 referendum (Issue 2) require a “yes” vote by voters in order to repeal the bill, the very same attorney, Donald Brey, filed the lawsuit in federal court in Columbus. The suit lists 15 Ohio teachers as plaintiffs, but it won’t cost those teachers a dime since the sham case is being funded by The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, “a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by abuses of compulsory unionism.”
The central claim of the lawsuit is that the teachers’ Constitutional rights are being violated by Ohio Law.
1. This is a civil rights, class action seeking declaratory, monetary, and injunctive relief to redress and prevent the deprivation under color of Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4117 of rights, privileges, and immunities under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
The law in question, ORC 4117.09, has been in place as written since 1990, and requires “that the employees in the unit who are not members of the employee organization pay to the employee organization a fair share fee.”
Q. What is fair share fee?
A. The law states that the exclusive bargaining representative has the duty of fair representation. This means that the exclusive bargaining representative (the local) is charged with the duty to represent each member of its bargaining unit fairly and without discrimination. Since all employees in the bargaining unit, including non-members, have a right to be fairly represented, they have a corresponding duty to bear a proportionate share of the cost of such representation. The fair share fee for non-members is equal to the amount that members pay. Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 4117.09 allows for fair share fee provisions if negotiated in the local association bargaining contract.
Q. Why should employees be required to support an organization against their will?
A. The support is not ideological; it is financial only. Fair share fee requires those whom the association must represent to help cover the costs of representing them.
This law (ORC 4117.09 C) would be changed under SB5 to allow teachers to be beneficiaries of the work of the unions while contributing $0 to the expenses, also known as freeloading:
“No agreement may contain a provision that requires as a condition of employment that the employees in the unit who are not members of the employee organization pay to the employee organization a fair share fee.”
And just in case the filing wasn’t frivolous enough, these teachers from Marietta City Schools (1) in Marietta; Green Local Schools (4) in Green; the Western Brown School District (9) in Mt. Orab; and the Trumbull County Joint Vocational School District (1) in Warren decided to include the Columbus Education Association, the local association for Columbus teachers with NO connection to these 15 Kasich patsies, while intentionally omitting their respective local associations (and co-workers). We can only assume that Kasich insisted the suit include Columbus due to its geographic location, vocal opposition to his actions, and standing as the largest local association in Ohio.
The only surprising piece of this lawsuit is the emergence of Ohio GOP Representative Andy Thompson as a major tool for Kasich. Thompson is a first-year Representative from Marietta who also serves on the House Education Committee. While we might not find the word Tea Party on his campaign website, he uses all the right buzzwords:
Nowadays, I am spending more time rediscovering the writings of our founding fathers; promoting local economic development; and serving my community through the Rotary Club.
As your state representative I hope to keep government from offering you too many “fixes” because I believe that government is best when it governs least.
I support the notion of ordered liberty. Because the founders understood the fallen nature of man, they created a system of republican democracy characterized by checks and balances on each branch of government. Like Thomas Jefferson, I believe in a limited or “federalist” system of government that empowers citizens to solve problems at the state or community level rather than looking first to the federal government for assistance.
And what are this Education Committee member’s thoughts about education in Ohio?
Education appropriations in Ohio make up more than 30% of the state’s budget yet each year, second only to health and human services funds. At the local level, school funding is usually the single largest expense. Yet, school districts throughout the state continue to hold their hands out for more taxpayer funds with few accomplishments to justify those requests.
I support a statewide education policy that has as its focus the needs of the student rather than the demands of the teacher’s unions or the education bureaucracy in Columbus. To this end, I support developing a statewide system of school choice in which educational dollars are tied to the individual student rather than to a specific school or district. Such a system would introduce competition into education as families seek out the school system they feel would best prepare them for an advanced education at the collegiate level.
As to curriculum, I would like to see less control over the content of that curriculum from Columbus and Washington, DC and more in the hands of the local school board. What might work well in Cleveland, may not work in Caldwell. If we give students the freedom to choose their school, we must give those schools the freedom to act as laboratories of innovation and excellence. The United States ranks first in per student spending for education. However, in most studies our country trails a number of Asian and European nations in terms of what we get for that money.
Allegedly, the OEA funded campaign ads against Thompson last fall as he ran for the first time. Continue to read more about him and it’s easy to understand why – he is simply not a friend of public education.
Are you wondering why we are talking about Andy Thompson? Look at the list of plaintiffs again. See it? The very last name; the one you’re not supposed to notice; Jade Thompson. That’s right, Representative Thompson’s wife. Apparently she’s been a fee payer for a few years and they’ve continued to hold a grudge over those anti-Thompson advertisements (no evidence supports Jade Thompson’s claim of direct OEA funding). Ever since then, the Thompsons have been on a campaign against OEA, even appearing on Fox News in February to spread their hate. Now, the Thompsons have found a way to turn their personal vendetta into gain as the GOP Representative will no doubt receive favor from the Governor in return for using his teacher wife as a mouthpiece to raise bogus claims.
Understand, this is NOT about Jade Thompson’s dues, this is pure politics. The Ohio Education Association and state law already allows fee payers to opt out of any lobbying positions:
Fair share fee payers who timely object in writing to the association’s non-chargeable expenditures, will be entitled to an advance rebate check of the non-chargeable portion of their fair share fees. They will also be able to attend the arbitration hearing regarding this dispute. The American Arbitration Association (AAA) will select an arbitrator, and a hearing will be conducted in accordance with the AAA rules for an Impartial Determination of Union Fees.
The headline on the National Right to Work Foundation website reads “Ohio Teachers File Class-Action to Halt Compulsory Union Dues for Political Activism” because they want you to believe that this is case where teachers in Ohio are rising up against their union. Don’t be fooled by this fraudulent attempt to mislead the public.
This is another brazen attempt by John Kasich to fulfill his desire for revenge; his desire to “break the back of organized labor in the schools.”
Vote NO on Issue 2.