Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Columbus Dispatch forced to issue a correction after printing a union member's lie.

Call this "We Are Ohio" Lie #4902.

Doug Stern is a Cincinnati firefighter who is opposed to Issue 2's reasonable reforms. He is so opposed, that he appeared in a "We Are Ohio" commerical. As a firefighter, Mr. Stern has my respect. But that doesn't give him license to lie to the public about the tax-payer funded benefits he receives.

He has a problem with the part of the bill that states that government employees must pay 15% of their health insurance premiums. Why? Because he says he already pays more than that, so the law isn't necessary.
“They’re reforms that are completely and utterly unnecessary,” said Stern at We Are Ohio’s kickoff event yesterday morning in Cincinnati.


Stern said that as a Cincinnati firefighter, he also pays 20 percent toward his health-care premiums. A 2011 survey by the State Employment Relations Board showed that, on average, public employees are paying between 9.5 and 11  percent of their health-care premiums.
He told the Youngstown Business Journal the same thing.
"That would be wonderful if we could get back" to paying 15% on health insurance, he added, pointing out that he pays 20% in Cincinnati.
And the Toledo Blade, too.
Mr. Stern said it's not true that unions have been unwilling to negotiate. He said he and his fellow firefighters pay 20 percent of their health insurance in Cincinnati and haven't had a pay raise in two years.
As with so many of We Are Ohio's claims, its a lie. The Columbus Dispatch reported that Cincinnati firefighters actually only pay 5%, and issued a correction.
Cincinnati firefighters pay 5 percent of their health-insurance premiums. Because of incorrect information provided to The Dispatch, a story on Page B1 of Wednesday’s Metro & State section included a different percentage.
This is a person that We Are Ohio is putting forward as a spokesman. He is featured in their commercial and speaks at their campaign stops. And he has been outright lying about the facts of the matter.

And that's not the only thing he has lied about. He also told reporters that the bill would prevent them from getting good safety equipment.
One of Senate Bill 5's provisions excludes safety equipment issues from being covered during collective bargaining. "It is in the bill that we can talk about it. We can talk till we're blue in the face about safety equipment but that is not negotiation. There's no teeth behind that talk," Stern said.

Stern cited an incident a few years back in Xenia, where firefighters' request to replace 10-year-old fire gear, as mandated by their contract, was opposed by a council member who was looking out for his "pet projects" and his own interests. "He wasn't going to save that money to put it toward more staffing or better equipment. He was going to use it for a project that would help him get reelected," Stern said.
Stern has it backwards. Senate Bill 5 explicitly gives firefighters the ability to collectively bargain for safety equipment. They don't even have that power under current law!

But why let the truth get in the way of your narrative, right? Mr. Stern knows that as a firefighter, he automatically has a sense of goodwill and trust from the general public. We Are Ohio knows this, which is why they feature firefighters in so many of their ads.

Mr. Stern is abusing that trust when he goes out and directly lies to the public about this issue. We Are Ohio should be ashamed of taking advantage of and abusing that public trust. It's sad that they aren't.

We can't believe a thing the unions are telling us about this issue. Make sure you get out and vote YES on Issue 2.


  1. Can't believe that you guys are going after firefighters, teachers and police officers. You are certainly changing the face of politics in Ohio for years to come. Congrats!

  2. Anonymous commenter, it's sadly easy to believe you're so eager to gloss over the anti-reform campaign's flagrant lies about a crucial issue that you'll accuse us of "going after" public workers.

    Transparent, tacky... and not even original.

  3. More lies from this website. Firefighters and police have always had the ability to negotiate for safety equipment since the 1983 law. So for you to say they don't have that power under the current law is a lie.

    And yes, the legislature revised SB 5 before it was signed to permit them to negotiate on safety equipment, but under SB 5's system in which the government can ignore labor's proposal and impose their own on any given topic. That's not bargaining, it's begging.

    And that's why Stern says the provision has no teeth. He specifically was addressing the very provision you claim he was lying about not existing. It exists and it is completely toothless.

    Yet again, you guys continue to lie in spectacular fashion.

  4. Jason- You routine refer to these pubic servants as union thugs. So stop the "I haven't gone after public workers." It's yet another pathological lie from you.

  5. Modern, this is remarkable stupidity (even by your standards):

    "Jason- You routine refer to these pubic servants as union thugs. So stop the "I haven't gone after public workers." It's yet another pathological lie from you."

    If I've been calling public servants "union thugs" so routinely - and I've been writing about public union reform for about a year - you should have no difficulty citing instances when I've referred to a public servant as a "union thug." How about 10 instances - less than one a month. Or 5 instances. Or 1.

    It's cute that you troll 3BP to inform us no one reads 3BP, but let's have some shred of evidence if you're going to call me a pathological liar.

  6. This blog is shameful. Just shameful. Smh

  7. I heard what he said in Youngstown. That he paid 20% of his health care costs. Never mentioned premiums. Probably because sb5 only requires that employees (who are not state workers) pay 15% of overall costs. The bill doesn't address premiums for fire fighters.

    If the bill doesn't address premiums, why should Stern or why should this blog. Nice try to spin your mistruths but the reality is Stern was right.

  8. First, an original version of SB5 did specifically outlaw the ability for firefighters to negotiate for safety equipment. That provision is not in the bill as it was passed, but could that quote from Doug Stern have come before the wording was changed?

    Second, what is the definition of "safety equipment" exactly? Does it include the material that uniforms are made from? How about the quality and reliability of the radios used by firefighters? If a department does not currently have bullet proof vests for their employees, but the employees feel they need them in certain EMS situations, do those vests qualify as negotiable items even though the firefighters do no currently have them and they are not traditionally thought of as necessary in their profession? Again, what qualifies as "safety equipment"?

    The problem with SB5 here is that the wording is vague, as it is throughout the law. It leaves the definition of what is negotiable and what isn't, again, up to the employer who in most cases has no idea how to do the job of a firefighter.


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