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Millionaire Union Boss Compares Ohioans to Nazis

Joe Rugola, paid $253,351 in forced dues, is very worried about the middle class

Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) Executive Director Joe Rugola, who last week compared supporters of workplace freedom to Nazis, was paid $253,351 in member dues during the union’s most recent fiscal year.

OAPSE Executive Director Joe Rugola
Joe Rugola

At a May 1 press conference, Rugola decried workplace freedom as “extreme.” Asked by reporters why 24 states already have workplace freedom laws on the books if the policy is extreme, Rugola said, “all of Germany went extreme in 1933 … that doesn’t make it wise.”

Rugola added, “Extremism as a majority notion does not necessarily pass the test of good government, good policy, sound democracy.”

OAPSE, a local of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), staunchly opposes letting workers choose whether to pay a labor union. Rugola, a former president of the Ohio AFL-CIO, has worked with other union bosses to frame expanded worker rights as an attack on worker rights.

According to The Columbus Dispatch, Rugola was asked whether he meant to compare the introduction of right to work legislation with Nazi Germany and he replied, “no, I meant to compare it to extremism.”

An Associated Press story on the dueling May 1 workplace freedom press conferences quoted Rugola extensively but did not mention his allusion to Nazi Germany.

“America’s right-to-work states are the poorest, most unhealthy and undereducated states in the union. That is a fact,” Rugola asserted, warning that “right-wing extremist legislators” and corporations driven by “godless greed” were looking to rob Ohioans of their rights.

In recent years, Ohio has lagged far behind workplace freedom states in terms of job creation, wage growth, and disposable income growth.

But Rugola, who was paid a quarter of a million dollars in forced dues last year, exclaimed that it was OAPSE’s “intention with every fiber of our being to make war on those who want to make war on the American middle-class.”

Over-the-top rhetoric is nothing new for Ohio union bosses, who torture common sense and the English language to avoid the truth about workplace freedom. When Michigan’s legislature passed right to work in December 2012, union front group We Are Ohio compared their actions to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Although Joe Rugola may currently be in the lead for the most hateful, ignorant comment in Ohio’s workplace freedom debate, he is not the highest paid Ohio union boss. That distinction goes to Ohio Education Association (OEA) President Patricia Frost-Brooks, who was paid  $267,916 last year based on OEA’s latest report to the Department of Labor.

Review OEA’s workplace freedom talking points and the propaganda from We Are Ohio to learn how Rugola’s suggestion that workplace freedom is like Nazism fits with union desperation to maintain the flow of mandatory dues.

This story originally appeared at Media Trackers Ohio.

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