Analysis: Issue 2 Never Stood A Chance

Opponents of Senate Bill 5 outmatched supporters in money, motivation and message.

In retrospect, Issue 2 never stood a chance.

Opponents outmatched supporters in money, motivation and message. It's no surprise they had more votes, too.

On Tuesday, about 60 percent of Ohio voters rejected Issue 2, Gov. John Kasich's plan to severely restrict bargaining rights for Ohio's unionized government workers. And the resounding defeat wasn't delieved with scant turnout during a boring off-year election.

Turnout was 46 percent, the highest for an off-year race since 1991.

The union-backed opponents were too strong, and cared too much. They viewed the fight to end Senate Bill 5 as a back-against-the-wall fight, and they campaigned that way.

Opponents trotted out teachers and firemen and said the law would ruin important government services and hurt midde class voters, and the voters believed them.

Supporters equated issue 2 with job creation and low taxes but voters just didn't believe them.

Observers predicted this before the election. John Green, executive director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron, said that a major problem for supporters is that their argument is too nebulous.

"Connecting taxpayers directly to this issue is much more difficult," Green said. "The average voter is not going to immediately understand that connection."

Kasich and his Republican allies had the upper hand at the beginning of the fight, when they were able to force its passage through the state legislature despite the protesters filling the State House. Sente Bill 5 was passed and signed in March without any Democratic support.

Before the ink could dry on the newly signed law, the galvanized opponents mobilized and gathered 1.3 million signatures -- 900,000 which were verified -- to have Senate Bill 5 placed on the ballot.

With an army of volunteers and passionate advocates, they were ready for an election before it was even called.

When the campaigns began in earnest, opponents ratched up the do-or-die rhetoric. Thing is, they believed it too.

"It will be plantation deal where one side has power and the other side has none," said Harriett Applegate, head of the North Shore AFL-CIO. "People will lose jobs, they will lose their rights in the workplace. It will create a one-sided structure that doesn’t work. There will be no rights worth hanging their hat on.

"If we lose this battle, we are sitting ducks for extinction, a union in name only," Applegate added.

And the money came flowing in. Reports show that, since July, opponents raised more than $19 million while supporters collected about $7.6 million.

In all, opponents raised more than $30 million. Supporters never revealed all of their contributions.

What happened to supporters? Where did they go wrong?

Paul Allen Beck, a political science professor at Ohio State University, said it's basically a classic case of political over-reaching after Kasich and the GOP's 2010 election wins.

"Most voters weren't giving a mandate to the governor to change the nature of collective bargaining in Ohio," Beck said.

The core fight raised by Issue 2 is not over, despite Kasich saying Tuesday night that he respected the voters' decision and take a step back and reflect on the outcome.

Union members at an election party Tuesday implored each other to prepare for the next fight, maybe in the 2012 election or maybe sooner.

Some even thanked Kasich for Issue 2 for creating such strong solidarity.

Said Stephen Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association: "Thank you, John Kasich, for uniting the labor movement like it's never been before,"

Tony Marcum November 09, 2011 at 11:05 PM
I'm not exactly sure what you mean do I go out and make the world a better place every morning? A better place... in terms of do I go out and collect pollution, save kids from abusers, and solve the drug problems? No. Do I get up every morning and work for my employer? Yes. Matter of fact I do, so if that is the case, you are out on the wrong limb. I'm also in IT. We just have two different views which is cool. You are more business friendly and I'm not. I've seen peoples lives destroyed by the people you say that treat them like family. I use to work for a .com back in the 90's and it was a small mom and pop shop with the husband and wife in the office. I ran all of the IT department, which consisted of me and 1 other person. Those people did not treat anyone like their were family . Instead, the week they closed on their 500 thousand dollar home the came to work and had a meeting telling everyone that their job was not in danger (they were mis managed and having problems). The day after that, I was called in the morning and asked to come in early to lock the people that were getting laid off out of the system. I dunno, I don't lie to my family like that for the sake of money. They didn't do it for efficiency and competition they did it because later it was found out that someone was taking money our of the company and spending it on personal stuff. Sounds like you have had good experiences. I have not.
Tony Marcum November 09, 2011 at 11:43 PM
Chris, btw, thanks for the exchange. You have a lot of valid ideas and you have gave me things to think about. It's nice to talk to someone without getting in a huge battle. I love the exchange of ideas and beliefs it's just hard to find people that will do it without resorting to name calling etc.
william November 10, 2011 at 12:16 AM
Andrea sounds like to me, you need to look for another job. i really doubt if you are a CPA for a public company with 4 years exp. and you make less than a just hired school librarian. I think you might be stretching the truth a little.
Tonto November 10, 2011 at 04:53 AM
Ohio to collapse under the weight of unions. Bye bye business, hello taxes. Cut your nose off to spite your face. Time marches on :)
Duane Gibson November 10, 2011 at 11:29 AM
It's unfortunate that people have developed such negative views of public unions solely based on what they read somewhere (probably some far right wing publication). The fact of the matter is that SB5 was Kasich's attempt to blame public unions for the state's debt and shift the debt onto 6% of the population of Ohio. Why else make draconian cuts to cities and school districts. If you read SB5, and most people did not, it was 304 pages long. Two and a half (2 1/2) pages dealt directly with pension contribution and health care contribution. The rest tried to deal a death blow by installing ridiculous measures that had nothing to do with saving money. It was built to destroy public unions. Do you think that public unions donated so heavily against Kasich in last election influenced this at all? The bill was flawed at best. There are some very nervous lemmings in Columbus worrying about their own elections next year.
Dan Sutterlin November 10, 2011 at 12:15 PM
very eloquent
Tonto November 10, 2011 at 02:00 PM
Bet those union dues are gonna skyrocket too :)
Dan Sutterlin November 10, 2011 at 02:22 PM
Dan Sutterlin November 10, 2011 at 02:24 PM
The above mostly true, here is one mostly false http://www.politifact.com/ohio/statements/2011/oct/10/we-are-ohio/we-are-ohio-claims-sb-5-would/
The original Bill November 10, 2011 at 03:33 PM
Sour grapes Dan. Nyaa nyaa. We won you lost
Adam C. Miller November 10, 2011 at 07:29 PM
Sooooo who's going to bailout STRS? They're going bankrupt.... O yea the TAX-Payer!
Tony Marcum November 10, 2011 at 07:32 PM
Adam, I read that you were. :-). I suppose you think that is the union's fault? They would be going bankrupt with or without them. I didn't really hear as many people complaining when we bailed out corporations to the tune of 878 billion dollars, but now it's a problem? I hope Americans can start to be consistent for once.
Adam C. Miller November 10, 2011 at 07:42 PM
Nobody complained about the bailouts? Are you serious?
Adam C. Miller November 10, 2011 at 07:43 PM
How many of you live in C-Falls? The Cuyahoga Falls City School District will have an ending cash balance of –$44.9 million in 2015... $6 million deficit next year! Wait, didn't we just pass a $10 million levy???
Tony Marcum November 10, 2011 at 10:12 PM
Not like this. From what I can see, all the conservatives are bowing down the corporate america and singing their praise. I hear the big stupid statement, "I never worked for a poor man". I always wondered if the slaves said that to themselves.
Tony Marcum November 10, 2011 at 10:12 PM
Again, not the Union's fault.
Tonto November 11, 2011 at 01:32 AM
Unions are commiting suicide with their greed.Time for a stiff increase in dues :)
Jon Shapiro November 11, 2011 at 02:24 AM
Tonto, not only are they raising their dues im sure, they have effectively raised taxes.
Tonto November 11, 2011 at 03:34 AM
Shooting themselves in the foot ?
Adam C. Miller November 11, 2011 at 05:58 PM
Union dues are OUT OF CONTROL! Give the $$$ back to the WORKERS!!!!!
Adam C. Miller November 11, 2011 at 06:08 PM
Joseph Rugola (Executive Director of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees) was paid $243,712 in dues taken from public employees in 2010... If “Wall Street values” are the source of Ohio’s problems, what sort of values does Rugola represent? Larry Wicks (Executive Director Ohio Education Association) was paid $210,858 in member dues in fiscal 2010, but who’s counting?
Tony Marcum November 11, 2011 at 07:26 PM
So since you all say sb5 is not union busting, tell me how what a union head makes justifies cutting the salary of a teacher? So you are upset about someone making 250K but perfectly fine with a 5 million bonus on top of a 1 million per year salary of a bank exec who helped cause the main crash of our economy and got a bail out and an even larger bonus? Really? Dude you really need to look at this with an open mind. Until the American people put the blame where it really should be nothing will change. The states are broke because of less tax revenue due to people laid off and homes lost which was due to the banking industry..... Not the unions and teachers. Is that a really hard concept to understand?
Adam C. Miller November 12, 2011 at 05:09 AM
SB5 wouldn't cut "the salary of a teacher" Our current President authorized the Bank bailouts ask him! And I was 100% AGAINST the bailouts!!! Economics... Revenue declines... spending SHOULD decline... END FORCED UNION DUES! Give the $$$ BACK to the workers!!! Open mind? Common sense!
Adam C. Miller November 12, 2011 at 05:10 AM
SB5 wasn't the ONLY answer... just the beginning!
Duane Gibson November 12, 2011 at 01:25 PM
Tonto, what is your knowledge of union dues structure? I'm betting very little. I have read all about how this will increase or that will increase, more layoffs etc.... Are you reading out of the Kasich handbook or do you actually have figures or facts?
Duane Gibson November 12, 2011 at 02:18 PM
SB5 has everything to do with public union busting, hence the 300+ pages that dealt DIRECTLY with unions AND NOT with pension contributions or healthcare. Need further proof? How about the immediate reaction by the GOP to start trying to make Ohio a "right to work" state. Now there's a recipe for lower wages. Adam, what do you know about union dues? You say they're out of control. In which way? Maybe you should ask the 1.3 million people who signed the petiution for the Issue 2 referendum if they're out of control. The only thing out of control about them is Kasich couldn't ram through a flawed piece of legislation down the throats of Ohio in order to help his Republican friends. Now his friends are running for cover. I suspect they will bring back parts of SB5 in smaller bills, as maybe they should. But make no mistake, YOUR Governor balanced the budget on the backs of all taxpayers in the State of Ohio by making horrendous cuts to cities and schools....then tried to blame public unions for the problem. Look forward to more levies from the cities and schools to make up the tens of millions of dollars stripped from their budgets.....and Kasich trying to blame public unions again. Worst Governor in history. He tried to make some landmark legislation in his run for national office and failed. Don't think he cared about you, GOP or DEM, either way. One term Johnny will be his legacy.
Tony Marcum November 12, 2011 at 05:00 PM
Duane, I'm with you and we sound like we are in agreement. I'm not well read on the "right to work" state but that doesn't really seem bad to me? Do I understand it correctly that its' just the law that says you cannot be forced to be in a union or you can join if you want? That sounds more like a free society. However, I have to admit since I haven't read up on it much I don't understand the full details and consequences. Do you care to expand?
Tony Marcum November 12, 2011 at 05:05 PM
I think I might be in agreement with Right to work. It gives the power to the people. It could actually make the unions work harder because if they are not doing what they need to do then they will fade away like a business that doesn't service it's customers properly. However, if the people find that they provide a valuable service for the dues they pay, then the unions will become stronger. In my mind, no one should be forced to be in a union nor should they be prohibited either. Employers would be encouraged to provide good wages else they would find themselves working against a union.
Duane Gibson November 14, 2011 at 12:56 PM
Tony, right to work does not give the power to the people. It takes the people's power away and gives it to the employer. Just imagine the chaos when employers have no motivation to offer equitable pay and benefits, and can terminate without reason. What you have is lower wages and a court system bogged down in litigation. Unions have their place. They have helped in the fight to institute fair wages etc. Those unions that do little than protect the bad workers, and there are some, are facing their own judgement days. However, I feel that those are few and far between. I think if you asked union members if they are satisfied with what they get from their dues you would find the vast majority would give the thumbs up.
william November 14, 2011 at 03:02 PM
Adam, The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 commonly referred to as a bailout of the U.S. financial system, was enacted Oct. 3 2008. George Bush was president. Adam GET A CLUE ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT


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