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Ohio Senate Republicans Rake in Union Cash

Ohio's state senate immediately stalled workplace freedom. Why?

Republican leadership in the Ohio Senate has received nearly $200,000 in labor union donations since 2011, secretary of state records reveal. Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) announced on May 1 that he does not expect the Senate to pursue workplace freedom, signaling majority support for forced unionism.

Nine of Ohio’s top ten Republican recipients of union contributions since January 1, 2011 are state senators – and three of those are members of Senate leadership.

The ten Ohio senators who received the most from labor unions through the April 17, 2013 pre-primary reporting deadline are shown below.

“We have an ambitious agenda focused on job creation and economic recovery, and Right to Work legislation is not on that list,” Faber said hours after a  May 1 House press conference introducing workplace freedom legislation.

“After discussions with other leaders and my caucus, I don’t believe there is current support for this issue in the General Assembly. The only purpose this discussion serves right now is to generate a bunch of breathless fundraising appeals from the Ohio Democratic Party.”

Why would Senate Republicans oppose securing workers’ freedom to choose whether to join or pay a union, even after neighboring Indiana and Michigan both implemented workplace freedom in 2012?

Union bosses – who responded to the introduction of workplace freedom bills by likening House Republicans to Nazis – have given more than $670,000 to Republican members of Ohio’s House and Senate since 2011 to ensure this outcome. Over $540,000 of that total has gone to the ten senators listed above.

Private industry and government labor unions have contributed a combined $199,200 to Sen. Faber, Senate President Pro Tempore Chris Widener, Senate Majority Floor Leader Tom Patton, and Senate Majority Whip Larry Obhof.

Governor John Kasich and his allies suggest workplace freedom isn’t necessary to keep Ohio competitive because Kasich’s economic policies have been wildly successful, but U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics data tell another story.

“In 2012, with Gov. Kasich’s policies firmly in place, Ohio only added 42,300 jobs — a 58 percent drop from 2011 and the 39th best in America,” Opportunity Ohio President Matt Mayer wrote in an April 30 Akron Beacon Journal op-ed. “In fact, from June 2012 to March 2013, Ohio’s private sector grew by a mere 3,700 jobs or just 500 jobs per month. For 2013, Ohio has lost 1,700 net jobs so far.”

Following is a list of the top ten Senate Republican recipients of union contributions from January 1, 2011 through April 17, 2013 in a format more conducive to copying and pasting.

  • Sen. Tom Patton (R-Strongsville), Majority Floor Leader: $116,050
  • Sen. Jim Hughes (R-Columbus): $113,145
  • Sen. Frank LaRose (R-Copley): $53,900
  • Sen. Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton): $53,350
  • Sen. Chris Widener (R-Springfield), President Pro Tempore: $47,250
  • Sen. Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville): $38,535
  • Sen. Kevin Bacon (R-Minerva Park): $37,850
  • Sen. Larry Obhof (R-Medina), Majority Whip: $32,900
  • Sen. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green): $28,300
  • Sen. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati): $22,050

This story originally appeared at Media Trackers Ohio.

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