Monday, October 10, 2011

We Are Ohio=Liars Club on Issue 2

The We Are Ohio Gang are full of misrepresentations and obfuscations. Here are some of the latest examples. First we have even the Cleveland Plain Dealer calling Shenanigans:
Rather than talking about what the law actually does, like a broken record We Are Ohio continues to rely on exaggerations, distortions and class warfare.

From the ad, you’d think Ohio’s elected leaders made sure they didn’t have the same health care and pension contribution requirements as they ask of everyone else.

Except Politifact states:

As for benefits, state lawmakers already pay health insurance costs and contribute toward their pension in line with SB 5’s provisions. Medical coverage rates and required pension fund contributions for lawmakers mirror those of unionized state workers. Therefore, they typically pay at least 15 percent of their medical insurance premiums and, if enrolled, must contribute 10 percent of their salary to the retirement system.

Don’t let We Are Ohio win just because they yell the loudest.

And then, we have also heard the talk about how nurses are going to be cut and "not be able to negotiate for more"...Child please. Again, from politifact Ohio, not exactly right leaning:
The commercial, which began airing on Sept. 27, raises questions about how SB 5 impacts nurses – a group of workers less commonly associated with SB 5 than others, such as police officers and teachers. PolitiFact Ohio decided to check the ad’s claim.

We started by checking how many nurses belong to public unions and, therefore, will be affected by SB 5.

There are about 160,000 registered nurses in the state and between 6,000 and 10,000 of those are public employees, according to the Ohio Nurses Association. That means SB 5 would affect between 4 percent and 6.25 percent of Ohio nurses.

The Ohio Nurses Association represents about 3,000 public-sector nurses, chief executive officer Gingy Harshey-Meade said. The Ohio Civil Service Employees Association and the Service Employees International Union also represent Ohio nurses. These nurses work at places such as prisons, city or county hospitals and public health departments.

When the nurse in the commercial says the new law will make it harder for nurses to provide care, the following text appears on the screen: "Source: Senate Bill 5; p229, Section 4117.08 (B)."

That section of the law specifies a handful of subjects that cannot be collectively bargained. Among those topics is "the number of employees required to be on duty or employed in any department."

In an email, We Are Ohio spokeswoman Melissa Fazekas said the restriction on bargaining staffing relates to patient care because "it is more difficult for a nurse to provide quality care when he/she is working short-staffed."

Jason Mauk, spokesman for the pro-SB 5 group Building a Better Ohio, sought to minimize the idea that SB 5 bans workers from negotiating staffing. He said management can discuss the issue if it chooses. As evidence, he has pointed to a different provision in SB 5 that lists "the number of persons required to be employed or laid off" under topics that can be negotiated at management’s discretion.

It is unclear how this provision would mesh with the ban cited in We Are Ohio’s commercials about nurses and firefighters. Certainly, however, management has no obligation to discuss staffing and unions do not have the right to collectively bargain the issue.

The current collective bargaining agreement that covers Turner, the nurse featured in the commercial, gives some insight into how SB 5 would affect nurses working conditions.

Turner, who works at the Ohio State University Ross Heart Hospital, is represented by the Ohio Nurses Association. The union’s contract with the university contains a clause that gives management the right to set staffing levels.

ONA’s contract with OSU says management has the right "to determine staffing and staffing patterns including, but not limited to the assignment of nurses as to the numbers employed, duties to be performed, qualifications required, and areas worked."

That sounds a lot like the rule that SB 5 would impose.
there are some critical facts on which the ad is silent.

First, it is impossible to say whether public employers will cut nursing staffs. The ad assumes that with staffing non-negotiable, management will cut staffs or not provide adequate staffing to a point that it will have an impact on the quality of care.

That’s where this claim differs from the claim in the previous ad involving firefighters, which specifically focused on the inability to bargain over staffing. This claim goes one step further, saying it will make patient care harder to provide.

Even more significantly, though, the commercial makes no distinction between nurses who are public employees and those who are non-public employees, and as such implies all nurses will suffer if Issue 2 passes. But only a tiny fraction of Ohio nurses are public employees - just four to six of every 100.

A listener knowing those critical facts would have a different impression of the claim.

On the Truth-O-Meter, the claim rates Mostly False.

Let's discuss more about the nursing thing. From the Toledo Blade:
Opponents to Issue 2 claim that SB5, which would be repealed if Issue 2 fails, will cause harm to nurses. Quoting from the We are Ohio website,

“Issue 2 will make our nursing shortage worse. It makes it illegal for nurses, hospital and clinic workers to demand reasonable and safe staffing levels—so nurses will juggle more patients while their salaries and benefits are cut.”

This claim is also made in a We are Ohio television ad.

The Ohio Nurses Association (ONA) summarizes their position against Issue 2 as follows:

(SB5) . . . would strip public workers of their rights to collectively bargain for fair and equitable workplace conditions. For nurses, it’s a matter of life or death (emphasis theirs) Collective bargaining allows us to advocate for protections that directly affect patient safety and care. This includes making sure nurses aren’t assigned to too many patients at once or forced to work long, overtime hours that lead to burnt (sic) out and injury, and make them unable to effectively care for patients (from

Like We are Ohio’s site, both this ONA site and the one detailing ONA’s arguments (see are rich in talking points but devoid of supporting evidence. Given the total failure of the opposition to back up their claims with citations from SB5, we can only search the text of the law and guess at what the opponents are referring to.

After ruling out any other rational possibilities from the results of my search of the text, what apparently has the opponents exercised is Sec. 339.07 (B). This section states that the administrators of county hospitals “shall ensure that the hospital has such physicians, nurses, and other employees as are necessary for the proper care, control, and management of the county hospital and its patients.” This is repeated in Sec. 749.083 (B) in the context of non-profit hospitals.

Based on this evidence from SB5 itself, the arguments made by We are Ohio and the ONA are illogical and flawed. They claim that SB5 will result in unsafe and unreasonable staffing levels in hospitals. But the language of the bill flatly contradicts this claim, unless one is willing to believe that hospital administrators are inherently so incompetent that they are incapable of fulfilling the law’s requirement to provide proper staffing.

Moreover, this argument is also based on deceit. As noted in the Columbus Dispatch’s Campaign Ad Watch analysis of the aforementioned TV ad, nurses do not have the right to negotiate staffing levels. The Dispatch notes that, under current law, nurses’ committees can suggest staffing levels to hospitals, but the levels are not subject to collective bargaining. SB5 not only does not mandate staffing levels for nurses, as opponents suggest; it also does not change current law regarding negotiation of staffing levels. (Neither does SB5 cut salaries and benefits, nor does it restrict or ban collective bargaining; but those are broader topics for later discussions.)

The intent of this argument against SB5 is not to inform, but to induce panic among the uninformed. Please, do not take the opponents at their word. Neither do I want you to take me at mine. Do what I did: Study the bill for yourself and see what it says. SB5′s text is at, and it’s fully searchable.

I am Ohio, and so is every Ohioan who favors Issue 2.

So, as we can see, We Are Ohio is lying again. But wait, they even go after the Governor, John Kasich. However, Tom Blumer of Bizzyblog is there to prove they are perverting the truth, again! Here are some excerpts:
Here is the relevant text from the source identified in the ad:

Ohio’s unemployment rate was 9.1 percent in August, up slightly from 9.0 percent in July, according to data released this morning by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). Ohio’s nonfarm wage and salary employment decreased 700 over the month, from the revised 5,117,200 in July to 5,116,500 in August.

In fact, Ohio’s economy added seasonally adjusted jobs in January, and continued to add jobs each and every month through July, until losing a “whopping” 700 in August. So far this year, the state’s economy has added 82,300 jobs, the sixth-best performance in the entire nation in terms of percentage of workforce growth. That’s in stark contrast to the 425,000 jobs Ohio’s economy lost during 2007-2009, and the paltry 31,000 it picked up during 2010.

There is no record of “continued job losses” since John Kasich took office. The above statement in the linked anti-Issue 2 ad is a lie.

Sadly, this is one of many self-evident lies, misleading statements and deceptions in the ad, as seen in the follow analysis of its script (referencing screen graphics where necessary):

John Kasich promised to make Ohio great again. [1] But he gave over $100 million of our tax dollars to big corporations. [2] Meanwhile, Ohio continues to lose jobs. [3]

Now Kasich is using Senate Bill 5 to destroy collective-bargaining rights [4] for Ohio workers. [5] (with an on-screen reference to SB5, page 229, 4117.08)

Kasich and other politicians took over $3 million in campaign contributions from corporate special interests [6] who could profit from Senate Bill 5. (on-screen graphic reads “profit from Senate Bill 5″) [7]

It doesn’t have to be this way. We can stop Senate Bill 5 by voting “No” on Issue 2.


[1] — Well, over 80,000 jobs added is a start towards “making Ohio great again.” What we’ve seen through August of this year beats the heck out of any full year Ohio has seen since 1999.
[2] — Show me the checks, guys. If you want to argue that Kasich and the state agreed to $100 million in tax breaks, fine. But that’s not what the ad says. It says he GAVE them $100 million in the recent past. It hasn’t happened as described. Therefore, this statement in the ad is a lie.
[3] — This statement has already been shown to be a lie.
[4] — SB5 does not (as implied) “destroy (all) collective-bargaining rights.” Specifically, “All matters pertaining to wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment are subject to collective bargaining between the public employer and the exclusive representative, except as otherwise specified …” After that, numerous items are listed as exceptions, but there are still items subject to collective bargaining. Thus, this portion of the statement is extremely misleading.
[5] — Then there is the reference to “Ohio workers.” The implication is that SB5 affects all Ohio workers. It doesn’t. It only affects unionized Ohio state, county, municipal, and school-district public-sector employees. It does not affect private-sector workers. This portion of the statement is also extremely misleading.
[6] — “And other politicians”? What other politicians? Lefties? Righties? Indies? This is a deliberately inflammatory non-statement which communicates absolutely nothing of substance.
[7] — “Could profit”? Could? Wow, that’s powerful (/sarc). It’s closer to the truth to assert that the vast majority of Ohioans will probably be better off if Senate Bill 5 stays in place, because taxes won’t have to go up, more resources can be dedicated to Ohio’s classrooms, and government entities will have the flexibility to do what they must to keep their costs under control. Note that the gutless graphic omits the word “could,” presumably in the hope that viewers won’t realize how deliberately misleading this statement is.

The ad demonstrates that the folks believe that they can’t win without lying to, misleading and deceiving Ohioans at every step of the way.

Why would such an organization work so much in lies? Well, considering they just give general references to some page in SB5, hoping you don't read it, we see one explanation. They think you are stupid. But, let's follow the money and see who is funding this misrepresentation. From Third Base Politics, we see that union bosses in Washington DC are the lead funders of We Are Ohio, as well as the Union Heads of Ohio unions. Gee, could we be desperate that another Wisconsin could be in the making? So desperate we are going to lie to the people of Ohio? You betcha. Check out the blog post with videos from 3BP.

Quit lying to protect your own skins, people. I thought it was about serving and protecting and educating, not lying to save yourselves.