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Union Billboard: “Workplace Freedom Act Poisons Workers”

IUOE Local 18 plumbs new depths with ridiculous rhetoric

The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 18, a Cleveland-based labor union, has purchased at least one billboard on State Route 315 in Columbus reading “Workplace Freedom Act poisons workers.”

With its text flanked on both sides by skull-and-crossbones “POISON” symbols, the billboard stands as testament to one of the reasons Governor John Kasich and the Ohio General Assembly have expressed no interest in pursuing a workplace freedom law.

Visible from SR 315 southbound between Ackerman Road and Lane Avenue, near the campus of The Ohio State University, the sign marks the latest in an already ruthless union campaign against letting Ohioans choose whether to pay a labor union.

At the IUOE Local 18 website listed on the sign, a graphic with the same message as the billboard and another graphic with the words “Workplace Freedom Act” encircling a Soviet hammer and sickle link to protectohiosmiddleclass.org.

“Protect Ohio’s Middle Class” is a website devoted to attacking workplace freedom, funded by a group called “Keep Ohio’s Heritage.” Keep Ohio’s Heritage shares a mailing address with IUOE Local 18, and IUOE Local 18 President Richard Dalton is listed as the group’s treasurer.

Future Media Trackers coverage will investigate the funding of and the claims made by Keep Ohio’s Heritage.

The “Current Issues” page of the IUOE Local 18 website depicts a prisoner in a jail cell next to the words “Workplace Freedom Act,” as well as another version of the SR 315 billboard’s message encircling a skull and crossbones.

None of this nonsensical vitriol should come as a surprise, since workplace freedom would threaten the cash flow of union bosses who routinely demonize their enemies.

According to the union’s filings with the U.S. Department of Labor, IUOE Local 18 Business Manager Patrick Sink was paid $159,477 in 2011. Fifteen more IUOE Local 18 employees and officers were paid at least $100,000 in 2011:

  • Richard Dalton, President: $127,078
  • William Fadel, Legal Counsel: $121,789
  • Premo Panzarello, Financial Secretary: $114,547
  • Joseph Lucas, Treasurer: $112,379
  • Mark Totman, Recording Secretary: $108,805
  • Timothy Hammock, Trustee: $107,355
  • Gary Siesel, Trustee: $105,399
  • Scott Stevenson, Trustee: $105,221
  • Ismael Gutierrez, Organizer: $105,075
  • Steve Delong, Vice President: $103,555
  • Gary Marsh, Auditor: $103,140
  • Thomas Byers, Auditor: $102,085
  • Michael Cramer, Business Agent/Organizer: $101,774
  • Stanley Brubaker, Business Agent: $101,299
  • Nathaniel Brice, Business Agent: $100,079

In addition to the sixteen IUOE Local 18 employees and officers paid over $100,000 in forced dues in 2011, sixteen others were paid between $75,000 and $100,000.

Like the Ohio Education Association, Service Employees International Union Local 1199, and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 8, IUOE Local 18 seeks to portray itself as a champion of “the middle class.”

In truth, IUOE Local 18 bosses are paid six figures in mandatory dues taken from Ohio workers. It’s no wonder the union wants to ensure those workers’ only options are to pay up or look for another job.

Cross-posted from Media Trackers Ohio.

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