Building a Better Ohio released a new commercial today, and Ohio’s unions and Democrats are having a full blown conniption fit over it. First, watch the ad “Life or Death” here:
So, why is “We Are Ohio” so hopping mad? Because this new ad uses footage from their OWN ad, “Zoey”, which you can view here. Zoey’s great grandmother is spliced into the new ad in support of Issue 2.
I am not a lawyer, and I have no clue whether We Are Ohio has a legal case against the ad or not. And I suppose I can understand their outrage to some extent. But if you notice, nowhere does We Are Ohio dispute the CONTENT of the commercial.
The TRUTH that the new ad communicates very effectively is this: The reasonable reforms in Senate Bill 5 will prevent more firefighters from being laid off.
Want proof? Here’s a classic case study of how unchecked union power actually led to firefighters being laid off in Ohio.
Need a real-life example? Look to Chillicothe.
In 2009, a binding arbitrator determined the average income in Ross County was a little over $25,000 and the county held a 13.8% unemployment rate. With that in mind, one would think Chillicothe would want to keep their budget belts tightened, but not the arbitrator. Instead, he awarded the safety forces union with pay increases of 3% for the next three years. This decision resulted in starting salaries being almost $10,000 more than the county average income. Additionally, another arbitrator awarded the police union with a 7% pension pick-up, meaning that the City had to “pick-up” 7% of the employees’ required contributions to their pensions.
How could the City of Chillicothe possibly pay for these cost increases without a tax hike?
The answer? They couldn’t. Because of increased costs, the City of Chillicothe had to ask voters for a 25% hike in their income taxes.
Notice what happened there? Who had the final say in the negotiations? Was it the city officials that the people elected? The city officials who have to answer to the voters at election time? No. It was a third party arbitrator, who answers to nobody! Shouldn’t the voters have the final say? Most people would agree, (except the union bosses.)
Back to Chillicothe. That tax levy the city requested to pay for the union benefits that the arbitrator forced on them? The voters rejected it. Anyone want to take a guess what the city was forced to do then?
Worried about responding to fires and serious medical runs from a station with only two firefighters, Chillicothe is closing its second one in less than six months.
The city is closing Fire Station No. 3 on E. Main Street. Beginning Friday, only the headquarters station on Water Street downtown will be open around the clock.
“At times, we’re down to two firefighters (at the closing station) doing a fire response,” when three or four are needed to appropriately handle runs, said Fire Chief Bruce Vaughan.
The approach of vacation season and the layoffs of five firefighters last year make it impractical to keep the station open with adequate staffing, Vaughan said.
There is no doubt that Chillicothe would not have laid off those firefighters, had they had the tools that Senate Bill 5 gives them. Instead, the unions pushed for more and more, knowing that the city could not afford it. But they didn’t care. They knew they had a chance to take more if the dispute went to an arbitrator. And that’s exactly what happened.
Let’s imagine that the city officials made the wrong call in the eyes of the voters. The voters get to kick them out of office on election day. But what happens to a third-party arbitrator when HE makes the wrong call? What mechanism do the voters have to correct the situation? NONE.
This is exactly how unions have the upper hand against the taxpayers in Ohio. And it is time to put a stop to it, and give the voters, the taxpayers, the final say.
The result in Chillicothe, is that they lost firefighters, and the city is now less safe. Don’t let this keep happening to more and more cities and towns around Ohio. The Chillicothe case exposes the TRUTH. Voting YES on Issue 2 will SAVE the jobs of our brave firefighters, police and EMS personel.
You know, maybe its a good thing that “We Are Ohio” is raising such a fuss over this ad. The more people see it, and learn the truth, the better.
UPDATE: Chillicothe received a federal grant to rehire the laid off firefighters. This is good news for Chillecothe, but we obviously cannot not expect the feds to bail out every city that has to lay off safety forces due to increasing costs. Several firefighters lost their jobs for months due to an arbitrator’s ruling and the voters rejection of higher taxes. Were it not for a fortunate grant from the feds, they would still be out of work.