They were two completely different issues, with almost identical results, and one more thing in common: union special interests were involved in both. In 2011, Big Labor backed the “No” vote, and ended up with the win. This year, they were asking for a “Yes” vote, and fell flat on their faces.
So why the huge difference? Put simply… spending.
In 2011, the union front-group We Are Ohio raised and spent some $40+ million on defeating the reasonable reforms contained in Senate Bill 5. The campaign to keep the bill, Building a Better Ohio, came in around $12 million. All told, it was about a $3.50 to $1.00 spending advantage for the unions.
In 2012, well, the unions raised roughly $8.2 million to support the redistricting reform via Issue 2. Of that:
- $8,134,000, a full 99.2%, came from special interest groups.
- A mere $63,000, or just 0.8% came from individual citizens.
- A full third–$2,722,000–came from out-of-state special interests.
- $3,899,000, or nearly half, of the entire sum came from teachers unions, based on them stealing from… err… “assessing” their members earlier in the year.
Their $8 million haul was just 20% of what unions spent on their efforts last year, and almost identical to the fundraising by their opponents this year–the successful Protect Your Vote Ohio–who raised $8.21 million, and 81.5% of it came from here in the Buckeye State.
In other words, unions had 99.9% parity in fundraising in 2012 and got trounced at the ballot box. What does that say about Issue 2 then and now?
They spent a small fortune–almost all of which came from mandatory “assessments” on members rather than actually asking for contributions–beating Issue 2 in 2011. The same funding wasn’t there this year, and wouldn’t you know it, unions got their hindquarters handed to them. Unions were matched dollar for dollar, and they lost the messaging war.
Doesn’t seem like a group that can win using the truth.
Ultimately, this just underscores why unions are truly afraid of what’s happened in Indiana and what’s currently happening in Michigan. It’s not about “free riders” or the loss of power. It’s not about losing dues dollars or campaign funding. In the end, it’s about actually having to be responsive to their membership.
That bears repeating: The biggest fear of every union is actually having to be representative of their membership.
Currently, union leaders are nothing but liberal Democrats, interested in furthering liberal politics, no matter the cost to their membership. Whether it’s your local school district, or Hostess, union leaders have proven they’d sacrifice the jobs of every one of their members rather than give up any of their perceived power.
In a right-to-work state, unions actually have to show their value to keep their members–they have to represent the values and beliefs of their membership. And instead of simply stealing from… err… assessing members every time a political issue pops up, unions would have to make an honest-to-goodness appeal for contributions.
You know, like every other professional organization.
*GASP* Unions having to play by the same rules as everyone else?!? The horror!
Unions have strayed very far from their original purpose: representing their members. Just look at the results of Issue 2 this year–they couldn’t sell their proposal to the general public, let alone their members, and yet they still paid for their $8 million campaign using 99% member “assessments.”
Perhaps if union members believed unions actually represented them, they’d actually believe the political messages… without unions having to spend $40 million (of member money) to convince them.